I actually seriously considered casting my vote for Clay Aiken after last night's penultimate episode of American Idol, but I decided not to. I didn't vote for Ruben Studdard, either. I genuinely think that they could flip a coin between these two guys.
I don't care if the music they do on this show is safe and predictable. I don't care if Paula Abdul has the same two comments for everyone ("You made the song your own!" if they did well, "Hey, you're still better than all those people who didn't make it this far" if they didn't). I don't care if Simon's mean sometimes, or inconsistent (if he keeps insisting that they're looking for the best singer, then why the hell does he keep carping on Clay's appearance?). I don't care about any of that.
What I care about is that this show celebrates people who have a talent and who are working as hard as they can to be as good as they can be with that talent. American Idol isn't about sixteen narcissistic creeps on an island forming alliances to screw one another. American Idol isn't about giving people money if they can hold their breath underwater while driving a car, leaping from a helicopter onto a moving train, and drinking one half-gallon of castor oil in under five minutes. American Idol isn't about some creep, male or female, trying to pick a mate.
Maybe it's just because I'm a writer looking for my break, and therefore I sympathize with what Clay and Ruben are trying to do (and what Kimberley and Josh and Trenyce and all the rest tried to do). That's probably a big part of it. (And I'm not too thrilled about American Juniors, with the combined creepiness of parents who think their kids are uncommonly talented and twelve-year old girls belting out "I'm your lady".)
Whichever one of these guys wins, deserves it. And I have a feeling that the "loser" won't exactly disappear into the void. So here's to Clay and Ruben. Good luck to both, but I'm not going to say "May the best man win", because they're both the best, and in my eyes, they've already won.
End of sappy sermon.