My apologies to Scotty McCreery for all my previous bitching. You're a sweet kid. You've got a fine voice. You're not really Garth Brooks' afterbirth. You'll have a good, long life, if you stay true to God and family and all the other weird ideas that make you feel okay about your blessed existence in this ugly, benighted world. You'll sing songs about an America that's totally illusory save in those lucky rooms where your kind, earnest throat summons it into being, and the people in those rooms will be better for it.
I wish you hadn't won American Idol, but I'm not wishing too hard. You were better than
the others. You didn't have the wild acrobatic vocal cords of Jacob Lusk
or the musicality of Haley Reinhart, but you always looked like you
knew who you were. Or at least who you intended to become. Fake it 'til
you make it, like they say, and you're trying very hard to make it.
Scotty! Last night must have been so weird for you! What
did you make of those guest stars? Sure, a year in Idolland must have
instilled in you a certain steely tolerance for cheese, but as last
night's rock'n'roll circus fretted across the stage, didn't you feel any
doubt at all? In your big Southern heart, did you wonder, finally, how
all this high camp and softcore porn could be properly Idolatrous in the land of Elvis and
do their little shoulder-dance in a perfect reenactment of some
17-year-old CGI sequence, did you wonder if all this pomp and glory --
the confetti, the encomiums, the manufactured delirium -- was just a
dry-run for some future exercise in lachrymose nostalgia? Man, TLC was great
once upon a time. And though their music lives on in the circumscribed
hearts of everybody who was 12 or 17 in 1994, the actual ladies are
doomed to spend the rest of their lives as the creatures you saw last
night -- as tired components in a barely-functioning profit machine,
limping across years and stages that hardly notice their passing.
music you love is meant for something better, something more lonesome
and eternal. Presley's ghost will wander the alleys of Beale Street long
after the last Poodle Skirter has gone to her grave. Where will your
ghost be? If your first single is any indication, your overlords at 19
Management don't want it to be anywhere. They are the truest and meanest
punk rockers in the world, for they not only believe in No Future, they welcome it. They're musical nihilists.
hope you escape them unscathed. Your odds aren't bad, if you took to
heart last night's second-to-last performance. What does it mean for a
63-year-old Steven Tyler to sit at that piano and sing the shit out of a
cheesily truncated version of a song that he wrote in 1971 -- to sing
it for the ten thousandth time as though it was the first; as though
everything is at stake in every note? I'll tell you. It's belief.
Belief in the power of all that glorious noise to reach deep into your
chest cavity and rearrange your vitals, so that henceforth your heart
pumps blood only for it; only to do good service to the music that made you its willing slave. If you've got that, you didn't need to win American Idol anyway. (And if you don't got it, then winning American Idol won't matter a whit.)
So congratulations to you, Scotty, and good luck. It only gets harder from here.