Fishing For Soul

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Archive for American Idol

American Idol vs. My Gym Workout


Talent. Drama. Competition. Judgment.

New York Sports Club was full of people vying for a treadmill with a working video screen. Yes, Obama was holding a televised ‘First 100 Days In Office’ press conference (Fox kept it’s regular programming, thank you very much), but more importantly, American Idol was about to begin. Wednesday night. The Final Five.

I do most of my TV viewing at the gym these days. I hadn’t seen American Idol in a long time, but I’ve somehow managed to follow it (and other shows) via on-line news, friends on Facebook, chatter on the subway, and the occasional Twitter update. Come to think of it, I’ve never actually sat through an entire episode of American Idol. In the past I’ve been too horrified by Simon’s comments to keep watching. This time Simon impressed me with his positive statements about the previous night’s performances and some of my past judgments melted away. I watched for a few minutes as I finished on the elliptical. Then I had to go and work my abs.


Walking away from the television screen I thought about what it might be like for those Final Five contestants. One of them would be eliminated by show’s end. Who would it be? The girl with the dyed hair? The guy with the dyed hair? Why did I care?

I’ve seen my share of reality TV. I was hooked on Shear Genius for a while and would schedule my cardio workouts so that I’d be on the treadmill or bike in time to watch it (BTW: How old is Jaclyn Smith? She looks great.) There was an interior design show that intrigued me as well. All the shows are pretty much the same. Contestants perform. They are judged. Someone goes home sad but determined to succeed anyway. Hmm… Sounds like an average weeknight at a New York City fitness club.

Let’s face it, we judge people. We’re just like Simon, Paula, Randy and that other woman. We’re judges. Judging others makes us feel better about ourselves – temporarily. We judge ourselves and we feel crappy. But, please, don’t judge me. That’s not right.

As I examined my legs in the mirror and decided that they were OK, but that a few sets of leg extensions and hamstring curls couldn’t hurt, I remembered my two years in television and how we used to judge the on-air talent. “What is she wearing?” “Did you hear how he flubbed that intro?” “What’s with that voice?” I happily added to the critiques. A few months ago a former colleague posted some pictures and videos from that era on Facebook. Seeing them after 20 years I thought, “Wow, those people were really talented. Oh, god, look at those clothes!” Same judgments, different year.

My workout finished, I headed to the locker room. I grabbed a clean towel and nearly bumped into a guy whose body I had admired earlier. I smiled. He smiled back. I made my way to the showers a bit self-consciously. Was he looking at my legs?

Talent? Drama? Competition? Judgment!

(American Idol update: According to a post on the web’s People TV Watch, “Matt Giraud was the week’s loser — he’s been on the verge of being voted off virtually week-to-week. When Ryan called his name at the start of the cruel yet elating game of elimination Wednesday, poor Matt started to tear up. He must have seen that long, dark cloud coming down.”)

Thanks and peace.