Idolize This

s it January already? You know what that means - another season of American Idol is about to begin. 

We’ll be revving up for “Idol Curiosity,” our mishmash of American Idol fans who are just competitive enough to agree to be in a contest so we can have someone to listen to us comment week, after week, after week, about people who will never, ever be famous.

At least I think we named it “Idol Curiosity.” It may have been “Idol Chatter” or “Idol Worship.” In the end we called it the American Idol contest.

Here’s how it works: The idolicious participants – Pam, Nicola, Lauren, Molly, Jedy, Ed, Tim and me, (and possibly Eric, who we’re still trying to convince that he doesn’t have to tell any of his employees that he’s doing this) – vote for who we think will be voted off the show that week. Molly gives them each a catchy nickname. Then we watch the show. Tim throws things, dramatically stands up, ceremoniously turns off the TV and threatens to never watch the effin’ show ever again; Pam prepares the weekly tip on how to choose the correct answer every single week; some of us make big plans for a grand prize and never do anything about it; and then we go over to our computers and start sending emails to our contest-mates.

“Can you believe that skank made it through another week?” 

“Did you see her butt in that dress?”

“You know, I actually feel sorry for Paula now.”

“I’d buy his CD.”

Sadly, we never buy the CD. We barely even remember who the contestants were, even the ones we swear we love more than Tony Bennett.

Remember Vonzell? How about “Skinny Muscly,”  “Wonder Years,”  “Silver Back?” “Fat Chris?” Sundance Head? (With a name like that, and a goat beard to boot, who needs a nickname?)

Buying a CD of these people would first require that we learn their real names.

Our Idol contest doesn’t really begin until the second half of the season, when people start being voted off. The first part of the season, when people are being let on the show – some just so we can make fun of them – is painful for people like me. I’m more than willing to throw my jabs in and criticize contestants’ hair, clothing, percentage of body fat and singing voice. But only when they’ve been given the good news that they made it onto the show. These poor saps who travel hundreds of miles to audition in unfashionable outfits, weird personalities, with some poor story about a handicapped mom, a dad in prison . . . well, I just find it hard to get into the cat fight over these people.

Once they’re on the show, however, the gloves come off. I’m a pretty nice person, but if you want to be on TV, you have to take your punches, I don’t care if you are a 16-year-old orphan who used to be deaf.

Last spring Nicola was visiting, so we got to watch it together. She was a little disappointed that we weren’t “doing it right.”  I was still dragging the last TV tray into the family room as the show was coming on. Nicola stood in the middle of the room snapping her fingers and saying, “Come on, people! Don’t you Americans know how to eat in front of the TV?”

This season I’ll be watching it all alone, unless I can talk a kid or two into joining me. They used to enjoy the show, but have moved on. They’re bored silly with the format, they can’t imagine watching the same show seven years in a row, and they see us as sad reminders of everything that is so last year.

“You know, Mom, there’s this show called Project Runway.”

Yeah, with a bunch of perfect looking models. And how, pray tell, am I supposed to make fun of that?