Thursday, May 26, 2005

Carrie Wins!

--A few days ago, I wrote here that I couldn't see Bo Bice not winning American Idol. I still haven't seen him not winning....because I was working at a Grizzlies game when Carrie Underwood was announced as the winner. But, I do have some thoughts on why things went Carrie's way.

While I still think...and I would suspect many who voted for Carrie would agree...that Bo is the more consistently professional singer, he wasn't the most generally accepted of the two.

I should have kept in mind, before I made my prediction, something that I've written before. The Idol competition is not really a talent contest. It is more of a talent-based popularity contest. And Carrie's popularity, and more generic appeal, carried the day.

What worked against Bo besides Carrie's homespun charm and great country-girl looks?

Bo is a rocker. And there will always be an element of American society that feels threatened by the rock culture. These people wouldn't vote for the greatest singer ever to utter a note if that person came with long hair, jeans, sunglasses and a hard rock song. Even though Bo was as nice and polite as could possibly be, he was obviously more comfortable singing rock. And the "squeaky clean" crowd likely sensed that, and mistrusted his Idol personna.

The coin toss might have also been a major factor. In case you missed it, Ryan Seacrest conducted a coin toss prior to the final performances that determined who would sing first or second. Carrie won and chose to go last. Good call! The last three notes of Carrie's final song on Tuesday might have done the trick. She was able to leave the last impression with the audience. And, her voice quivered with emotion, while her eyes moistened, as she sang the last few lyrics of a touching tune about angels bringing her to where she was. You could almost hear her millions of supporters mass-dialing telephones at the end of that one.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, but the more popularly accepted performer is once again the American Idol. It will always be that way as long as the winner is picked the way it is.

Congratulations to Carrie! (I guess her drive up I-44 from Oklahoma to St. Louis for the audition last summer seems worth it now.) No reason to feel badly for Bo. He'll be fine. And they'll both be rich.

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