While watching last night’s CNN-YouTube debate of the Democratic Presidential candidates, I was suddenly struck by this question: What if we voted for President the way we vote for “American Idol”? Would Hillary still be the country’s “fan favorite”? Would John Edwards get the female votes because of his good looks? Would Mike Gravel keep hanging on as the Sanjaya-like favorite of “Vote for the Worst” or would he just be one of the funny clips of a contestant shoved into the “audition” shows? I can’t help but look at Dennis Kucinich and think of “Chicken Little” from a couple seasons back on AI-you remember the poor guy (though I can’t remember his real name) he was “Everynerd” in high school, but people listened to his voice and he got a lot further than anyone thought he would.
Think back on the first season of American Idol: The vote came down to Kelly Clarkson, the normal, middle class girl from small town mid-America with big dreams (Hillary) and Justin Gaurini, the exotic looking smooth voiced rebel (Obama). I remember it being a neck and neck, back & forth competition between those two AI contestants, culminating in the eventual win of the girl with big dreams. I remember being shocked that she won, wondering if her victory would see any fame, if she could turn herself into what the American public expected of her. As we all know, she was able to do all of those things and Justin has quietly faded into the background. America is becoming a reality TV based culture, so my advice to the candidates, especially Hillary and Obama is this… watch a little American Idol; watch and learn.