I have a confession to make. I auditioned for American Idol.
No, you probably didn't see me on TV, and I never got to meet Simon, Paula, Randy, or even Kara or Ellen. I was part of the great swath of mediocrity that gets cut in the first round, neither great enough nor awful/horrifying/crazy enough to make it past the initial cattle call. (Although, I did get to see Seacrest, making time to appear at the audition even with the 23 other jobs he has.)
Despite my failure, I still love the show and go out of my way to check it out. Yes, it's a reality show manipulating you into an emotional frenzy for the sake of corporate profit. None of these facts take away from the fact that it brings millions of people joy, as well as fulfilling a handful of dreams.
It's also a show that brings people together. With the Internet, cable, and everything else taking away from the power of network television, it's one of the few shows out there that brings a sizable percentage of the American public together in a shared experience. People love it or hate it, but everyone has an opinion on it. I know that I'll be calling my mom for the next few months to share thoughts on the show, talking about our favorites, why this performance was amazing and why that person is clearly tone-deaf, and getting wrapped up in the excitement and silliness of Idol.
And who knows? Maybe I'll give it one last shot this year, my last year of eligibility. Wish me luck!
Photo: AP Photo/Gretchen Ertl