I'm angsty today over last night's American Idol finale. It's one of three shows I've really followed this year (Heroes and The Office are my favorites), and I think I've finally vented to Devan long enough to get my thoughts straight. A local NPR show called Soundcheck had an interview show about the Idol season, and I had their phone number dialed into my cell phone to call in when they announced they were changing topics. That's the closest I've ever come to calling in to NPR.

They were asking, What is it about American Idol? Why do we care?, and it finally came to me that I believe that the popular music industry is impossible to break into, and I'm always convinced that there is better talent out there that remains independent, undistributed or undiscovered. American Idol gave me this tiny piece of hope that maybe, just maybe, some deserving soul could get the break of a life-time: an industry invitation. But this season that hope is shaken to the core.

I think Sanjaya's ascent to the finals was the precipitating event for me. I got on to see what they were up to; their campaign seemed to be working. It all got me thinking about how few contestants get seen by the three judges in each city, how the producers pick really freak acts and how many would-be contestants don't get a shot to be heard by any of us. The pre-Hollywood round is like a completely different show that is seeking and displaying the bizarre and unbalanced individuals that come out in stronger force each season. I have a difficult time believing that the good singers the judges see are a complete representation of the best. In the end, the winning contestant feels just a little like a product that was manufactured by the producers along the way, instead of a diamond found in the rough.

Forty-nine hours of broadcast time this season. It was a bit much for me by the end. I don't know if I will recover by next season and be ready for more, or not. I can't even believe I'm blogging about it--I'll probably hate myself in the morning. Hopefully it's out of my system now, and I can go back to worrying about Darfur .