’American Idol’ For Old People

Traditions come in all shapes and sizes – that’s the beauty of the concept. Quite often the simpler it is, the better. You remember the experiences, the conversations, the plain joy from the time spent together. And you never forget the “funnies” that spring from those times together.

OK – now I have to admit that I am completely hooked on American Idol. (‘Fess up – you know you are, too!)

I started watching the reality TV favorite in its first season and don’t think I’ve missed many episodes since then. I know I haven’t missed any since getting a DVR – it’s even better when you can fast forward through all the commercials!

For you veterans Idol fans out there, you may recall that in the first season, the contestants had an age limit of 24. After the second season, it was raised to 28, and is now 30. Alas, Idol came too late to the reality scene for me to ever consider auditioning – even if I had been delusional enough to think I wouldn’t have been torn apart by Simon Cowell.

You see, I’ve always had a love for singing and performing, spanning from singing and dancing in a show choir in high school. It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube! It still gives me chills.

That has evolved into singing in church choirs as an adult. The lure of the performance drew me into watching Idol that first season. And it quickly became a weekly event for my then-6-year-old son to sit with me and watch the show.

The Sunday of the Idol Season One finale, I sang a solo during the offertory at church. I think it may have been the first time my son had heard me on a microphone all alone.

He told me after the service that he “didn’t know I could sound good.” And how does a mom respond to that?

“Thanks, honey,” I replied.


What else can you say?

Now, later in the week, during the that first finale showdown between Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, the hosts (well-known Ryan Seacrest with then co-host Brian Dunkleman) did a little retrospective on the first season of the show, including a bit on Delano Cagnolati.

Not a name you remember?

Cagnolati was the first of the show’s public scandals. Cagnolati, a Season One semifinalist, said he was 23 – just under the age limit for auditioning. But he was, in fact, a much older 29. Consequently, the show’s execs booted him for being too old for the competition.

My son, sitting with popcorn in his lap (part of our tradition) watched, enthralled with all the music and stories thus far, and started hopping up and down on the couch. He looked at me with all the joy, love, and excitement you can only find in a 6-year-old’s face.

“Mommy!” he said. “If they ever have an American Idol for old people, you just have to go on it!”


“Um, thanks, honey,” I replied.

What else can a mom say?




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