My partner-as-of-late Shannon Smith told of an encounter today that eerily illustrates how a certain hyperbolic talent show has engulfed both our lives. She was preparing for an early morning live shot at a local fire department when she overheard two burly guys in turn-out gear, chatting over coffee. It went, I'm told, a little something like this:
"Ya see the little bald dude sing 'Dead or Alive'?"
"Yeah, Chris Daughtry...he rocked it! How 'bout the skinny hillbilly doin' 'Simple Man'?"
"The one from Rockingham? Ain't he got a twin brother?"
"Yeah yeah, looks just like him. Sings too, right now he's working at the family body shop, hopin' brother Bucky makes it big..."
"I hear ya - hangin' out in Hollywood sure beats banging out dents for a livin'..."
From the corner, Shannon stared slack-jawed as the two firefighters gabbed about the news story they'd seen the night before - a local feature she'd written 18 hours earlier. 'You people are talking about MY WORLD,' she thought as the morning photog cued her from behind his lens.
Ever the pro, Shannon nailed her morning live shot. But she has good reason to feel a little punch-drunk. Since returning from our press encampment in Beverly Hills, we've both been busy doling out the bounty in bite-size chunks. You'd be surprised how much material you can pull from two 90 minute discs. As it stands, I could produce a nightly tie-in on each of the 24 contestants well after many of their burgeoning careers are long finished. Whirlwind showbiz junkets will do that. Shannon tells me it's just getting started and she should know. Having tracked Fantasia from the second before she walked into her first audition to the moment America coronated her a temporary sensation, our lovely morning reporter knows a thing or two about the juggernaut in question. I too, have have multiple close encounters with the beast, from chasing Clay through a crowded rotundra to fending off crazed Fantasiacs in the bowels of Greensboro Coliseum to parting a sea of hopeful vocalists in our nation's capitol and here at home...When will this silly show stop haunting me? WHEN?!?
Not for awhile, apparently - which leaves me a little torn when it comes to my humble little shelf here in cyberspace. I do NOT want this to become an Idol blog, no matter how much the subject matter swells my site meter. But from the beginning, this living compendium has been a real-time reflection of my days behind the lens. Right now, that includes the world's dorkiest singing contest. While I don't want my association with the show spray-painted on my tombstone, it's providing a welcome detour from the never-ending onslaught of crime, grime and ribbon cuttings. If I weren't crafting this high-quality tripe, I'd be down at the courthouse with a finicky live truck, a frazzled reporter and a pissed-off defendant. That's a repeat I don't need. So bear while I slog through the pablum of American Idol. I promise not to post too much about it, as I simply don't want to attract too many Claymates, or Bucky-bots, or whatever moniker these eerily obsessive enthusiasts are using this season. Not that they don't bring their friends. More Than a Thousand Hits in One Day - not bad for a guy who used to get excited about breaking 100 in 24 hours...