My better half has become one of the 25,000,000 viewers of American Idol on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. It’s okay with me. She puts up with my watching reruns of Burke’s Law, the original Lost in Space, the Green Hornet and Supernova. I don’t watch House or Boston Legal or really anything on the networks prime time schedule. She says it’s to have something to talk about at the water cooler the next morning at her work.

American Idol

I can tell she likes the show, and that’s okay. It is popular because it gets people interested in a contest of talent. Seventy-four million votes were cast during the 2007 season.

The show was created by Simon Fuller in England in 2001 and was called “Pop Idol”. America, as it often does, brought, borrowed or copied the show the following year. Simon Cowell, a judge on American Idol, and the guy you love to hate, is actually a record executive, and was a judge on the original Pop Idol show.

Image: New Yorker magazine

The judges, Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, rate people on vocal talent, song choice, presentation and miscellanea related to the overall performance. The judges don’t always vote the same as the people who watch the show.

Some of the singers who have made it big from the show include: Carrie Underwood, 2005 winner; Jennifer Hudson, eliminated midway through 2004 but ended up winning an Oscar for the 2006 film “Dreamgirls”; Chris Daughtry, finished 4th in 2006; and Kelly Clarkson, the winner in the first season.

What I find interesting is what happened a few weeks ago when Neil Diamond was interviewed during the show. You find out a bit about the artist whose songs are being sung during the episode, and sometimes on how they write the songs that made them famous.

My wife asks me to watch the show with her but I stay at the kitchen table with my laptop. When she makes a comment about a performer and looks over at me, I pretend not to be watching or listening to the show. Yes, it is a guilty pleasure. I don’t like the fact that I am paying attention to it and don’t want her to know, not yet anyway. Maybe it’s a bit of embarrassment. The show has brought me in by using a lot of tunes from the 1970’s, which I know rather well, a misspent youth or whatever. I usually know the original artists, the year and even a good portion of the lyrics.

For me the show is like watching Jerry Springer, which I don’t but have in the past on occasion. You want to peak in, take a look, see what’s going on, what all the fuss is about, but you don’t really want anyone to know you looked. So I listen to the show as I surf the internet, even watching it from time to time, but turning my head back to my laptop at the commercial break in order to preserve the fiction that I’m not paying attention.

So let’s see; it’s on Tuesday May 12 at 7pm and Wednesday May 13 at 8:00pm. She always asks me when it is on and I always have the answer. She hasn’t asked me how I know or if I looked up the listing. I may even try to vote this time. Shhh! Don’t tell my wife. When she outs me for watching, she’ll probably tell me she knew all along.