Caught up in the ‘Idol’ frenzy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2006

I’ve never been a big fan of all these reality shows.

From what I’ve been able to figure out, &uot;Survivor&uot; started all this reality craze in America some seven years ago. I think it was the first one where Richard Hatch took off his clothes and roamed in the buff among his fellow contestants.

Then came the extremely interesting &uot;Big Brother&uot; where men and women, each taking turns stabbing one another in the back every chance they got, attempted to co-exist within the same house. I lost interest the very first episode.

&uot;The Batchelor&uot; and &uot;The Batchelorette&uot; are the biggest waste of prime-time TV. The premise is for a man to choose his true love over a 12-week period. Ditto for the woman who finds herself as the center of attention on &uot;The Batchelorette.&uot; I guess there are those who do fall for each other early in a relationship, as in love at first sight, but a lasting romance must be nurtured, allowed to develop slowly as the partners learn what makes the other one tick. It can’t be developed in three months, especially in front of a national TV audience. Both those shows were not about love, but rather lust.

&uot;The Apprentice&uot; is Donald Trump’s conceited way to show America just how rich he is. My only comment is that with all that money, why does his hair always look like he just jumped out of bed?

The spin-off to Trump’s show – &uot;Martha Stewart – The Apprentice&uot; – is as boring as old Martha herself. The show’s ratings dropped faster than the poll numbers of President Bush.

&uot;Wife Swap&uot; – sounds more like a 70’s love generation show, complete with polyester suits and bad background music.

Don’t even get me started on &uot;The Simple Life.&uot; Two, totally spoiled, not to mention filthy rich, brats, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, slip on tight t-shirts and shorts and head out to &uot;Small Town&uot; America where they supposedly attempt to fit in. This show is rated &uot;IM&uot; – for immature, as in all the heavy breathing teenage boys glued to the screen. Send the socialites to northeastern North Carolina and let’s see if they can skin a buck and dip a herring net.

At the present moment, the hottest thing on the tube is &uot;American Idol.&uot; Yes, I will admit I’ve watched this show over the past few years, especially after the field of these musical wanna-be’s is narrowed down to the final rounds. It’s kind’a like the NBA….it doesn’t count until crunch time of the play-offs arrive.

AI is at its best when the talent search stretches from coast-to-coast. It’s downright hilarious when thousands of individuals wait for days for that one fleeting moment in front of the judges to prove, once and for all, they can’t carry a tune in a barrel. What makes it so entertaining is that the majority of these people honestly believe they can sing, and sing very well.

I can’t sing a lick, but at least I understand that fact. You’ll never catch me auditioning for AI, not unless they drag my shower stall on stage (with the curtain tightly closed) and let the judges listen to me belt out Skynard’s &uot;Call Me the Breeze.&uot;

When AI debuted in January, someone told me a man from Lasker (that huge metropolis over in Northampton County) had made the first cut. I’m a Northampton County boy, born and raised in the Pinetops/Ashley’s Grove community, and I racked my brain trying to figure out who had this type of talent.

Then I found out and it made all the sense in the world.

Despite spending the majority of his life far from the fertile farmland of Northampton County (his parents reside in Virginia and he lives in McLeansville, just west of Greensboro), Chris Daughtry is a product of an extremely musical family. His grandfather, Calvin Daughtry, is a local legend, the owner and operator of the Lasker Grand Old Opry – a simple barn where talented musicians gather to perform as individuals, groups or just sitting around, picking, singing and grinning.

That bloodline continues within the heart and soul of Chris Daughtry.

The 26-year-old has the Daughtry look, especially his eyes. I didn’t get a chance to hear him perform up until a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I was blown away by his passionate vocals. His voice is rich and his stage presence is commanding.

Chris has advanced to the Round of 12, six men and an equal number of women now on the big stage vying to become the next American Idol. He appears very humbled by his sudden rise to fame, but yet his feet remain firmly planted. He understands the level of competition is now very tough. He knows his plane ride home from Hollywood could come as early as this week, depending on the votes of the viewers.

However, we all know that win or lose, Chris has already turned enough heads out on the Left Coast to land some consideration from the big name music moguls. His is already a household name and we should all share that pride just as his grandparents in Lasker and other Northampton County relatives are experiencing at this exact moment.