Dear American Idol,
I'll admit, you've lost me in the past several years. The mean comments, though hilarious (and truthful in their own right) were hard to watch. I'd cringe every time Simon crushed the dreams of the child singing before him like the Grinch putting Cindy Lou Who in a headlock. The contestants weren't memorable--I couldn't even tell you who won last year, or the past 5 for that matter. I wasn't sure what would happen when you introduced new judges into the mix. I was skeptical, at best. And dammit, I really miss William Hung.
But you did it. You wooed me back with your quippy on-camera interviews, new judge lineup, and plethora of golden ticket winners picking up Ryan Seacrest and spinning him around like a ragdoll. I even decided to DVR you this year. And last night's episode was no disappointment, though I DO wish we got to see more BAD contestants make fools of themselves in front of their grandmothers. That makes me spit out my milk.
And somehow, with the surprisingly sweet demeanor of Steven Tyler (did anyone else think he was going to take on the role of the asshole?) and the reluctance of J-Lo to say "no", you managed to create a combination of hilariousness and heartwarming with the stories of a few contestants. And this is where I get sappy for a moment.
I fastforwarded that DVR all the way to the end, and got the kleenex out so I could see to what degree Chris Medina would make me cry. His cute pictures with his beautiful girlfriend had to lead to SOME terrible story, I was sure. And I was right. Turns out, Chris was two months away from being wed to his gorgeous fiancee when she got into an accident. She is now wheelchair bound and severely brain damaged. And do you know it--though he could have walked away from that girl, (they were two months shy of marrying) instead, he stood right by her. He's 26, and now for the rest of his life he will be taking care of her along with her mother. He sacrificed so much, and I can't help but think-- what an amazing human being he is. In this day and age of people hopping from marriage to marriage, loyalty far from the center of most people's hearts; instant gratification and superficial demeanors, this man stood by the woman he loves, and I am truly inspired by him. Not that I think that people should get a free golden ticket to the Willy Wonka factory just because of their heartbreaking stories, but it sure does give you hope for the future of mankind.
And so, American Idol--with this, you have won me back. I have even gone so far to record the series on my DVR (K will be THRILLED, I'm sure), and I have several more hot dates with Steven, J-Lo and Randy in the next several weeks. I've put the ring back on, and turned your pictures face-up again; I can't wait to see what you have in store for our future. Hopefully more people bringing giant toothbrushes onto the stage and smacking the camera as they storm off, sans golden ticket.