When it came time for AMERICAN IDOL to crown a winner, it was something of a lose/lose situation for the show… unless, of course, you factor in the endless amounts of publicity generated.
Had Adam been declared the winner, a cry would have gone up across the “red states” of this land that left-leaning liberals (including, of course, those pushing that all-powerful conservative bogeyman know as the “gay agenda”) had rallied their forces to put the sexually ambiguous, eye-liner wearing showman in the top slot.
Even before Kris claimed the IDOL title, the universe — and, more specifically, the twitterverse — was abuzz with accusations that the underdog was being undermined by both the Adam-favoring judges (Simon had all-but declared Lambert the winner weeks earlier) and the gay-friendly “blue state” crowd. Some likened media coverage of Lambert’s track to assumed-victory as the latter days of the presidential campaign, when the media was often accused of being “in the tank” for now-president Obama.
In reality, what happened was that for the first time in ages, IDOL wound up with two amazingly talented, equally-deserving crooners, one a Freddy Mercuryesque showman, the other a more subdued singer in the style of Jason Mraz. (Let’s face it… 2005’s Hicks vs. McPhee showdown didn’t exactly have the country poised on the edge of their seats.) And in a situation like that, no matter the outcome, there’s going to be a group of wildly disappointed folks ready to cast aspersions on the whole process.
And in the end, does winning really even mean all that much? Runner-up Clay Aiken has had a better career — or at least remained more visible, if often as a punchline — than winner Ruben Studdard. And 7th-place finisher Sanjaya Malakar — better known for his oft-changing hair than his ability to hold a tune — has managed to stretch his 15-minutes of fame by appearing on the upcoming season of I’M A CELEBRITY… GET ME OUT OF HERE!, while his season’s runner-up, Blake Lewis, has practically fallen off the radar. As with all reality TV, it’s not whether you win or lose… it’s how well you capitalize on your time in the spotlight.
Both Lambert and Allen will have a shot at becoming stars. And given his flamboyant style as both a singer and performer, Lambert may well be better off outisde the pop-star factory that is IDOL, given its tendency to try and package stars in boxes they don’t necessarily fit into. But most important of all, now that this all-important contest has come to its unpredictable conclusion, we can all spend the day offering our critiques of the outcome before preparing for what we’ve really been waiting for: tonight’s debut of the far-superior, if not as well rated, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!