So how many of you watched American Idol this year? I did. Not because I particularly wanted to, but my husband likes to watch it and wants me to watch it with him.
At one time, it was on my “must see” list. I was a fanatic about the show from the beginning. I could never miss an episode. If I wasn’t going to be home, I’d record it because I HAD to see it. Yep, it was my favorite show. I waited all week for it to come on.
Year after year I watched and recorded. I loved Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, was sad when Katherine McPhee lost, sat scratching my head when Taylor Hicks won, and cheered when Jordan Sparks won. The rest? I don’t really remember anymore. Yep, year after year I watched and chose a favorite, even though I never voted.
Then, in season 7 … David Archuleta showed up.
Well, the little rascal changed everything!! I was cheering. I was voting. And I was ranting about the American public’s lack of good taste when he came in second. (It’s okay. I’ve gotten over it. Mostly.)
But when Season 8 started, it felt like something was missing and it’s been that way ever since. Now I watch it because, unless I really want to tell hubby that it’s just a waste of time because there will never be another David Archuleta on the show, I have to watch. How can I tell him that no one else’s voice makes me feel the music, that no one else’s performance draws me in, that no one else compares, that … well, you get my drift.
I’m left wanting, every time, because there won’t be another David Archuleta on American Idol, ever. He is the first and last contestant that has captured my attention in the way he did, in a way I can’t even explain.
Oh, I know that the contestants were talented. I know that many of them have real potential. Some of them have voices I really like. Some have great voices and actually know what to do with them. I can see it. I can hear it. I just don’t feel it.
It’s okay. You can say it. You can tell me, “There’s lots of talent on the show.” or “You can enjoy more than one singer!” And you’d be right. There was some real talent on AI this year. But no matter how good anyone else is, when compared to David, it leaves me wanting more. When some of the contestants sang, the notes seemed cut off and I wanted to pull just a little bit more out of them. And I didn’t hear the extension of the melody in their voices the way I do with David. Somehow, the lyrics are just words. I’m not drawn in. I find myself merely an observer, critiquing each note, each run, rather than enjoying the performances.
Should I be comparing everyone I hear to David? No. I shouldn’t. But do I? Absolutely. I don’t mean to and I try not to. I just can’t help it. After 5 years of listening to The Voice, how can I not compare? He has spoiled me. Badly.
When David was on Idol, I got excited about his performances. I recorded them and watched them over and over and over. I was left going, “OMG, did you hear that!?!” When David sang, I felt the heart of the song. I loved it. I felt engaged. I was connected to the performance and the song. There were moments when he took my breath away. Watch David Archuleta singing “In This Moment.” When he sang it, I believed him and I was in that moment with him.
Not since season 7 have I recorded an episode of American Idol. Not since season 7 has anyone made me want to listen more than once. Not since season 7 have I cared enough to vote for another contestant. I guess once you’ve found your Idol, no one else will ever compare.
One Idol is all you need when it’s the right one.
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MT is a Staff Writer for The Voice