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An Apology To Scotty McCreery, The New American Idol

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

Dylan? Why was Beyonce asking tweens to make love to her? Why did J-Lo have to give you a boner on international TV? Why did Lady Gaga look like

she was re-staging The Lion King as a Lars Van Triers short? Indecent! Wrong! Seeing TLC

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.

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Brandon K. Thorp

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