When I sat down to watch the start of my 8th American Idol season, during the cold snows of January, I thought to myself the exact thing I think every year. "I am SO excited to see who we find this year." Followed by: "I cannot wait for the finale because then it will be spring!" Who would we love this year (like David Cook)? Who would we hate (like bikini girl)? I couldn't wait. I am a fan. I love singing, and this is MY show. Finding some person and taking them from obscurity to, well, Oscar?-is just amazing.
Who knew what a ride we were in for. American Idol has changed my entire town. Seriously. It has drawn us all together in celebration. You can be Democrat or Republican, Pagan or Christian but when you say, "LEE" they'll say, "Woo!"
I know some are calling this season lackluster, and they have a point. There was no one over-the-top theatricality. There were just good singers. Natural performers. Great voices. I'll take that any day.
We begin on Wednesday at 9AM when I add my chairs to the mix already in place.
At noon, I revisit to see the situation- it's getting more crowded! The American Idol staff are setting up the boom camera and getting the satellite feed hooked up and ready.
A split screen of noon and 6 PM- look at people coming in:
6PM- chairs and blankets cover the entire area and people start to arrive. Vendors have set up tents selling food, wine and beer- and Lee merchandise! (still not a hi-lighter shirt to be found!)
There was a friendly wager between the mayors of Lee and Crystal's hometown. We'll be getting a gift basket of Tony Packo's Hungarian Hot Dogs (made famous by Jamie Farr's character Klinger on the television series MAS*H). They would have gotten the Lee cookies and a Chicago style pizza.
Below is a video just after they announced Lee won (I gave myself a second to jump and scream first). Now, as a life long Cubs fan, my team NEVER wins. I am used to it and was even preparing for Lee to lose, but when they said his name... holy crap! Lee won! (Also in the photo gallery below are some cool photos of Lee at Wrigley I finally got!!!)
To quote my good friend Lisa Honcharuk, with whom I have shared most of this Idol journey, "What is our 'Mayberry' town going to do after this? What am I going to do tomorrow? I might just curl up into the fetal position and rock myself... It's over." I should probably go look for her to make sure she's OK.
To check out my other American Idol posts (I wrote 4), starting with Mt. Prospect and Lee on April 4th see: Our Own American Idol. My 2nd entry includes a photo of Lee playing in the park-cool! And finally his I covered his Hometown Visit on May 14th: here.