Friday, March 16, 2007

Story of the Week - March 12-16

The Field of 65 and The Top 12

I'll make my peace. Syracuse deserved to get into the NCAA Tournament this year. This fact was proven, in my mind, when Stanford, 18-12 in the regular season, got CRUSHED by Louisville, losing by 20 points and being down by 30 multiple times in the game. Way to take advantage of that tournament spot.

I may be the only one, but I really hope SU wins the NIT.

Why is Sanjaya still on American Idol? How did he get into the top 24, let alone the top 12 and now the top 11?

Everybody seems to think Winthrop is going to beat Notre Dame. Did you hear what Simon said to Sanjaya? "You're very brave." I mean, he wouldn't even comment on the singing, that's how bad he was!

And so go the conversations of March. Two sports dominate the phone lines, the text messages, and the email exchanges - college basketball and American Idol.

That's right. American Idol is a sport.

American Idol is not just a reality show. A reality show is something you watch when you've temporarily lost the ability to think and can do nothing but slump on a couch with a little drool dripping down your chin. Reality shows have developed into a genre of cheaply-produced modern day gladiatorial voyeurism. They go something like this - we take 12 chefs/fashion designers/comedians and make them do tasks related to their field (with lots of commercial tie-ins) crown the winner with some cutesy name (most likely a play on words regarding cooking/fashion/comedy) and make them live in a house together so they swear at each other, get in each others' way and eventually gnaw each others' faces off.

Which isn't to say that wasn't Idol's intention five years ago when it started. But now, Idol is not a reality show - it's an event. It's a sport. A weekly, live competition with a live audience and watched on TV by millions, then discussed and analyzed in offices, on radio talk shows, written up in magazines and newspapers, and culminating with a major championship. You can't say this for Top Chef. You can say it even less for The Surreal Life (is that still on? I don't watch much reality TV)

I started watching American Idol in its second season (season one was over the summer and I was away) with my roommates - my sports-crazed roommates who then were involved in sports-related academic and extracurricular activities and now are involved in sports professions - and we were all hooked. Hooked on Reuben. Then hooked on Carrie. After college, I watched with my mom. Still do. And then I talk it over with my old roommates. Right after we talk about Spring Training, or recently, our NCAA Brackets. And I'm sure that, in April and especially in May, American Idol will occupy our conversations the way the World Series does in October. American Idol is a sport.

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament yielded few upsets, nothing nearly as upsetting as the ousting of Brandon and the keeping of Sanjaya. Sanjaya is a true Cinderella story, I mean just look at him. He may actually take the stage in glass slippers if Idol voters allow him to stay. Hopefully this is the last week we'll have to see him, because he doesn't belong in the top 10. #11 seeds Winthrop and VCU lost on Saturday. Let's hope Sanjaya becomes #11 in the Idol ranks on Wednesday. And then the Sweet Sixteen will start.

I love March. Now if only we could do something about the weather.

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