The People Love Loud

Notes from the American Idol Tour

The ladies behind us did not suffer. They had multigenerational mullets, from mid-20s and hefty to early-50s and transported. Later, they would stand and bounce, singing all the words to all the songs, with shiny eyes.

And then, after some more commercials, it was time for the concert to begin!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The people loved Clay loudest. I don't know why, for Ruben was equally boring. And for some reason, Clay got to own the color red, just like Mao! All the Clay shirts were red, and people shone red lights during his dull, dull song, where he stood motionless at the mic stand until about three-quarters through it, and by the simple act of finally walking away from the spot where he'd been standing, made every girl in the place go insane with shrieking. All he did was walk to one side of the stage, and everybody screamed. Everybody else had to at least pretend to dance, even the fat black dudes (who wheezed), but all the white boy (emoting jovially like Ronald Reagan telling an especially inane anecdote) had to do was walk, and he got 10 times the love and panties. He had really expensive highlights, Ryan Seacrest-style.

Some of the performers—okay, pretty much one young woman named Trenyce—were terrific. (Also, the slutty blonde one—"Kimberly," I think—had a pleasant voice, low and throaty like Fiona Apple's lower register.) And there were even some pyrotechnics during Trenyce's damn-rocking cover of the Tina Turner version of "Proud Mary." Also, Trenyce had freakishly large hands; they were as big as Gerald Ford's noggin. They were like Cubist hands, and they were cool.

And, sweetly, after each performer, they brought up the houselights so Julia and Kimberly would be able to see the plethora of homemade signs emblazoned with their names. How heartbreaking would it be to make a sign, and then not have, um, Carmen or Charlie be able to read it in the dark? It would be very heartbreaking!

Now, I understand American Idol was quite popular, and people seemed to like it very well. Hell, lots of them even paid $25 to $50 to go hear American Idol finalists sing one cover song each before introducing the next American Idol finalist and thanking the fans—who made it possible!—and Pop-Tarts. That's awfully big money for a karaoke show!

It's a karaoke show with back-up dancers, sure—they came out first in "street kid" costumes, busting those moves by that *nsync choreographer, the one whose video I could have gotten at the As Seen on TV store at The Block, but I got Back Yard Fight Clubs instead, and I'm still mad about it even though that was last Christmas.

Yeah, so the backup dancers were fine—although the pretty black dancer with the fabulous Afro was later, during Rickey Smith's song, supposed to be that girl that Michael Jackson stalks in the video for "The Way You Make Me Feel," a song I actually really like. She strutted around confusedly as Smith pretty much ignored her; also, he had a kind of bad Mike Tyson voice, so she was pretty much left to get stalked by a lady man who had as much interest in stalking her as Michael Jackson had in the original. (And by the way, did the video director all those years ago not get the memo about rapeand how by the '90s it had lost some of its cool?)

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Rape is bad.

But it did make me happy—the show, not rape—and it was nice, and the little girls got their first taste of hot lust even though their moms still shouldn't let them dress like that, and the rest of us got our bread and circuses and an hour or two of joy and screeches for Labor Day. We hope you had a happy one.!

* Some of the most popular girls names from the 1990s, when all the girls the lady was pimping were born.

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