New crush, same old embarrassment

In order to tell y’all this story, I have to first admit that I’ve been watching American Idol. Go ahead and laugh. No one is laughing harder than I am. In all of its eight or so years, American Idol has never been anything of interest to me, but they must have wanted me more than I realized because they went out and got themselves a lesbian for this season (cycle? I don’t know the AI lingo). It’s not just any lesbian, either. It’s Ellen, America’s favorite lesbian. How can I ignore that?

When I heard that Ellen was going to be a judge, I said to myself, “Self, American Idol wants you bad.” So I gave it a try. I had never watched even part of an episode before this year so I didn’t know what to expect. I watched one of those Hollywood Week episodes and it was all right. I wasn’t nearly as bored or horrified as I expected to be so I watched it again the first week it was live, and I’ve watched it every week since.

Oh, geez. What is happening to me, friends? Have I become common? I haven’t voted yet, but last week’s results were all wrong so I will probably be popping my voting cherry this week. After that, there will be no distinguishing me from the 14-year-old girl who sends 10,000 texts a month that all say “K” or “c u.”

I don’t quite know how to describe the show or what about it that entertains me. If nothing else, it’s a compelling case study of sexual harassment in the workplace. While the performances have been mostly interesting thus far, I’ve been more entertained by the judges—which brings me to the truly embarrassing part.

Folks, I have such a crush on Kara DioGuardi. You don’t have to tell me that she is annoying. I was watching when she fawned all over Casey James and when she cried last week—cried actual tears. I mean, I like that Maxwell song, too, but good grief, get a hold of yourself, woman. What I like about Kara is the stuff that is annoying: her stupid, forcefully trendy hairstyles and the way she talks. The good news is that my crush on Kara has all the characteristics of a fling. There is no reason to expect this thing to turn into a Jennifer Beals or Amy Ray situation. While it’s true that it does resemble the Kim Delaney situation in its inability to be explained, the Kara situation is less passionate than the Kim Delaney situation. Kara is hot in a music industry kind of way (not the singer/songwriter way that she thinks she is), and she  makes American Idol kind of nice to look at.

Before I go, I have to attempt an explanation for my inexplicable ability to be entertained by American Idol. I have this friend who is an academic (like me but so much fancier—this person is a real professor) and she watches that show on TLC about that family with 18 kids. I don’t know what it’s called, and neither does my friend. She watches it, though, because she needs something mindless at the end of the day. Maybe I need that, too. I’m teaching a lot of classes full of a lot of students who write a lot of papers. While my work isn’t exactly constantly intellectually stimulating, the grading takes a lot of mental energy. You know what takes zero mental energy? American Idol.