As American Idol draws her final, dying breath after what was for years one of the most dominant television series of all time, I feel compelled to make one final post dedicated to the contestants who have mattered to me most.
My list is not based on record sales, number of twitter followers, degree of fame, or number of awards received. It's my tribute to MY Idol family, and with family you don't measure your love on superficial things.
* * * * * *
Crystal, you are the very definition of authenticity. Your heart pours into your music, and the results of this outpouring is a gift I could never repay. Your music has depth, and reveals you as a woman courageous enough to share with us your soul, warts and all, even when at your weakest and most vulnerable. I respect this greatly. Whether good, bad, silly, tragic or anything else life has to offer, you bring us a perspective from deep and sometimes ruthless introspection.
I vividly remember when I was in a horrible job situation three years ago, and your "Get Me Out" was the only thing that got me through my morning commute to that hell hole. I would literally crank it up full and belt out every word with tears rolling down my cheeks. I felt trapped, suffering, and this song was my savior. It's so brilliantly written, so beautifully sung, and so brutally honest that I felt it like a living, breathing life form.
Therefore, I want to thank you Crystal. Thank you for having the courage to bear your soul so people like me can find inspiration and connection through your life stories put to music. You are an absolutely brilliant writer, and if I knew a word beyond brilliant I would use it. You are also a tireless touring artist devoted to living a musician's life. Your voice is a beautiful, pristine, penetrating cry. I am truly grateful to have virtually met you through Idol, and seeing you in person only reinforces that opinion.
Get Me Out
* * * * * * *
My precious Haley....where do I even begin. Your determined run on Idol was unlike anything I saw on the show before or since. I was so fired up when you would get dissed by the judges after a sensational performance I was ready to run through a wall. Your vocal talent captured my imagination, your moxie captured my respect, and your seductive beauty captured my heart. I was hook, line and sinker, and remain that way 5 years later.
Since Idol, I've felt as invested in supporting you as I was with your run on the show. Along the way, I've been amazed by your ceaselessly sunny demeanor, unflappable sense of optimism, and unshakable belief in yourself. Sometimes it drives me nuts, to be honest. I am a tremendous skeptic, believe with perfect faith in Murphy's Law, and constantly fight self-doubt. Apparently, opposites attract!
As you surely must know by now, I'm absolutely mesmerized by your jazz vocal chops. That said, I also know you are an artist with interests in many different styles and genres. I have no problem at all with this, and think it's healthy. I enjoy whatever music you make...even those genres that are not a natural fit for my tastes.
I pegged you from the start as a once-in-a-generation talent with the entire package, and despite what has at times been a rough ride I see you moving inextricably in the right direction for industry respect as both an artist and person. That matters to me almost as much as it does to you, and I am beyond proud of you, Haley.
I feel like in a way your journey is also my journey, and I love living vicariously through it. Best of luck on the upcoming album, girl, and thank you for making me feel like a part of your magical ride. Can't wait to see where the road takes us next.
* * * * * * *
Pia, you left the show way too early back in Season 10, but when you left the world about stopped spinning on its axis for a week. America was in open revolt! It seems like forever ago now in some ways, but just like yesterday in others.
That was then, this is now. What I love most about you is your tender heart and open soul. As gorgeous as you are, and holy crap are you gorgeous, your willingness to wear your heart on your sleeve endears you to me the most. You are fragile but feisty, and are willing to fight for what you believe in. You project such a warm heart, and I perpetually want to give you a hug.
With a road harder than most, you've fought through the wilderness, led the Kings to 2 Stanley Cups, and ultimately landed the elusive victory of releasing new music. I just downloaded You'll Be King, and absolutely love it. I know this is the start of a big run for you, and one day hope to collect on that hug.
* * * * * * *
Dude, absolutely love how underneath that laid back country boy vibe beats the heart of a very deep thinker, brilliant writer, tremendous recording artist, and even better live performer. You also stand up for what you believe in. The battle you've taken to 19E for conflict of interest knowing it would be a very tough career risk takes stones.
Your season on Idol was the last one I gave even a half a shit about. You stood out for me from the beginning, but when you won it with that tearful victory performance of Home where you hugged your parents mid song...it was one of the most captivating TV moments of all time.
The music you write is edgy, deep and powerful. I loved both your albums, but nothing beats the original vigor. Still pissed as hell they didn't put Take Me Away on the standard album and make it a single. Anyway, no complaints.
Live you're an absolute machine. That Lollipop Mashup is INSANE! Blows the crowd away every time.
Bottom line, you seem like a real cool dude. A regular guy you could drink beer and watch college football with. Fame and fortune didn't change you a lick, and I doubt it ever will, either. That's not in your DNA.
I also appreciate you for liking my sense of humor. I toss a lot of crap out on twitter for a laugh, and you frequently like what I sling.
Lastly and mostly, I look forward to many more great songs, meaningful songs, rocking songs, and fun shows in the years to come. Cheers, bruh.
Lollipop/Lose Yourself/All I Do Is Win/ Mash