Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ever since the hospital up the hill built a new wing, our house hasn’t gotten the Fox network, and we don’t have cable. So I’ve missed American Idol.

But Idolmania swept me up, and so tonight I called my beloved spouse’s old friend Karen and invited my whole family to her house for dinner -- with us bringing dinner. Karen had already eaten but she wouldn’t mind dessert, and so I cooked, we packed up, stopped at the corner store for ice cream, and were on our way.

The show is dull. No surprise there -- it was what I expected, more or less. But it was nice to see our friend, and her cats, and the kid was happy to go on an outing and he loves our friend too.

Blake is sweet and charming, and his beat-boxing shows some rhythmic skill and flair but as a singer he’s strictly OK.

Jordin, who’s 17, is the more poised of the pair (Blake’s 26 or thereabouts), and she has powerful diva pipes equally comfy in R & B or country -- both diva genres.

I wasn’t swayed one way or the other. Then the last song came, the first time that they would both sing the same song, which was the winner of the American Idol songwriting contest, written by two shlubby men with their shirts untucked. (I’m such a square! Tuck your shirts in!) As people predicted, the winning song was an uplifting power ballad, called “This Is My Now.”

As Blake sang it, strictly OK, monochromatic but otherwise fine if you don’t mind bland, I thought, damn, bland song, I should have entered the context, maybe my lilting waltz with the free-improv instrumental bridge, “Worms in the Sky (a/k/a Vitreous Floaters).”

Yeah, right. As disaffected Elizabethan youth used to say, “Whate’er, sirrah.”

But then Jordin sang it and . . . something happened. She sang it with power and nuance.

And it’s a really good song.

And it’s about the show. About winning the show. About the moment of triumph, and also about living in the moment, about stepping into one’s stardom, however defined, what every great star knows, “This is my now” -- mine, not that other person’s, as Harold Bloom said about great poets, that they know when their Now is.

And at the very end of the song Jordin’s voice caught, and she teared up, and it was magnificent. She was singing about what we were seeing in front of our eyes, the ineluctable now-ness of now, and in particular this her individual Now, and her intense emotionality made the Now unimaginably individualized and simultaneously universal, the grandeur of her stardom reflecting the grandeur of existence like a (William) Blakean grain of sand, like a fractal. “That was pretty awesome,” the hitherto unimpressed Karen said.

Regardless of how America votes, tonight, Jordin was an inspired singer -- a star. This is her Now.

(And, trying to look up info on the song, I see that designing the song to comment on the contest was part of the plan all along. Well done!)

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