Fair. Balanced. American.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Down to the wire

Dialidol.com has the American Idol race tied. In the end the votes spurred by homophobia and Southern regionalism, added to those of genuine fans, should put Kris Allen over the top. But the interpretation that will be given to his victory makes it impossible for me to vote for him.

The case for the non-upset upset is made at MTV.com:

There seems to be some sort of assumption out there that Allen is the underdog, and that if we were to derail the juggernaut that is Adam Lambert somehow, then it would go down in history as perhaps the greatest upset in "Idol" history. Again, I'm not really sure why this is. Last time I checked, isn't Allen the clean-cut kid with the voice tailor-made for Top 40 radio? Isn't he the everyman, the nice guy with the pretty wife and the good teeth? The kid who reminds most people in America of someone they know, someone they can relate to — someone whose lifestyle and appearance don't make large portions of this country squirm just a little bit?

That doesn't sound like an underdog to me. It sounds like the front-runner.

Which is why, when (not if) Allen is crowned the "Idol" champ on Wednesday night, it won't be some monumental shocker. It will be par for the course. Democracy in action. David over Goliath (or Giants over Patriots) this ain't.

Like I said last week, I don't necessarily want Allen to win, I just think he's going to. And the reasons I have for thinking that — Allen's likability, relatability and accessibility — are the same reasons I think he's anything but the underdog. The strange thing is how many people just don't seem to realize this, assuming instead that Lambert, who is certainly likable but whiffs on the next two, is going to win "Idol."

Glamberts ("Idol"-speak for "Lambert Fans") like to harp on his online popularity, his Google stats and the media obsession with his personal life. These things are all certainly valid indicators, but I think they only get you halfway. There are plenty of "Idol" viewers (I assume the majority) who don't populate message boards or read Entertainment Weekly, and who probably find something about Lambert off-putting and will gladly throw their support behind Allen (I'm trying real hard to not make a Red State crack here). And, again, I'm just going to assume that these people make up a larger portion of this country than the Glamberts do.

And I don't think I'm the only one who thinks this. Simon Cowell does too, which is why he campaigned so hard for Lambert on last week's show, urging fans to "take nothing for granted" and vote for him. And so do many "Idol" obsessives, like blogger Rickey Yaneza, who runs fan site Rickey.org. When I interviewed him about Cowell's remarks, he read the same thing into them that I did: There are two distinct groups of "Idol" viewers, and while one may be firmly in Lambert's camp, the other group (the larger one) might not be.

And surely an Adam Lambert victory would be worth it for this headline alone. Then again, the opposite headline would be just as funny.

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