OK, so I know Season 8 really is over. The votes have been counted, the winner announced, and the confetti swept up. So why am I here on this site? Why are you? Well, I can only speak for myself.
Season 8 lives on for me because I was not just entertained, but invested. Strangely enough, the definition of “invest” in my dictionary doesn’t describe how I feel, but I can think of no other better word. “To commit money in order to gain interest” is what the dictionary says. OK, I did spend money – I admit it, much more than in any previous season. I downloaded itunes, bought a tour concert ticket, bought an AT&T phone so I could text vote (hey, they weren’t passing out free phones in my area) and purchased merchandise. But those things were just a tiny part, and the least significant part of my “investment.”
No, the reason I am here is because a one-in-a-million contestant came along, caught my eyes and ears during his audition, and continued to awe me, amaze me, surprise me, and bring me to tears week after week. There was the voice, of course – that otherworldly perfect voice that could go anywhere and do anything. Investment #1 – awe at vocals so majestic mingled with dread that I will never again hear a voice like that.
Then there was “the look,” which I guess you either loved or hated. Personally, I loved the hair, eyeliner, nail polish, and *ahem* tight pants. But the important thing about Adam Lambert’s look is that he dared to be different. Was he just “being himself” or was it just to be controversial? I’m not sure. I’ve heard Adam in interviews say both “this is me” and “I like to get people talking.” Whatever, it took guts to take those risks, and even after the hate mail started pouring in after Ring of Fire (my personal favorite) he went back to that look again and again. Investment #2 – admiration for Adam’s fearlessness in doing what he wanted to do regardless of the consequences. Would I have the guts? I don’t think so. Most of us conform to fit into society and gain acceptance from our peers.
Then there was Adam’s humility and grace. If he’d come off as arrogant to me, I wouldn’t have cared about him, regardless of his talent. On stage, he commanded both it and the audience 100%. But when the performance was over, he didn’t applaud himself, but stood quietly, only mouthing a silent “thank you” when the judges praised him. I’ve watched lots of his interviews, and Adam has never said an unkind word, even though he, and he alone, was asked questions that are nobody’s business. Investment #3 – Respect.
By the end of the season, I was totally invested. I wasn’t just cheering for my favorite contestant, I was emotionally tied to a man who is rare, unique, and inspirational. As much as you can love someone you’ve never met, that’s love. And so the season is over, and the other guy won.
American Idol got what it wanted from me – a good chunk of my wallet.
But the rest of my investment? That all goes to Adam. I continue to be invested, and that means I’ll support Adam any way I can.