'American Idol' provides education and entertainment

Ah, Monday. While the rest of my family, and probably most of you, were out making a living, I was enjoying a quiet morning with the house to myself. I have a job that carries most of its workload in the first two or three weeks of the month, leaving me with relative freedom for the remainder. So, instead of planning my daily work schedule, I watched the Today Show and drank tea. Ann Currie was conducting a very uncomfortable interview with a couple of the latest "American Idol" rejects. They have become what I like to call, "15-minute famous," all because Simon Cowell told one of them that he looked like a "bush baby". Bush baby? What is that? Well, since I had a bit of time on my hands I thought I'd Google it.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

Ah, Monday. While the rest of my family, and probably most of you, were out making a living, I was enjoying a quiet morning with the house to myself. I have a job that carries most of its workload in the first two or three weeks of the month, leaving me with relative freedom for the remainder.

So, instead of planning my daily work schedule, I watched the Today Show and drank tea. Ann Currie was conducting a very uncomfortable interview with a couple of the latest "American Idol" rejects. They have become what I like to call, "15-minute famous," all because Simon Cowell told one of them that he looked like a "bush baby". Bush baby? What is that? Well, since I had a bit of time on my hands I thought I'd Google it.

And Google it I did. It turns out that a bush baby is a cuddly little creature also known as a galago or nagapie, which means "night monkey" in Afrikaans. They are nocturnal primates, native to the continent of Africa and they only grow 6 to 9 inches long with 9- or 10-inch tails. They have huge, round eyes and are absolutely adorable. Maybe Simon meant it as a term of endearment. "Oh, you little bush baby! Who's my little bush baby?" Right. Anyway, after seeing a picture of one, I suppose the guy did resemble the bush baby, especially around the eyes. And I'm rather impressed with Simon's knowledge of the animal kingdom. He must be watching Animal Planet on Saturday mornings.

Obviously it's not nice to call people names and make fun of their appearance or the way they sing, but isn't this the fifth or sixth season of "American Idol?" Unless you can really sing, you're just asking for it. I find myself wondering how the friends and family of some of these contestants can let them even think of auditioning. Surely they have one honest friend? If not, maybe they could try this. Once I thought it would be neat to record myself singing "Saturday Night" by the Bay City Rollers, circa 1975. You know, S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y- Night! I put on the record, (or was it an 8-track?), and sang along into a tape recorder. Any delusions of grandeur I might have entertained regarding my singing abilities were shattered. I was sure I heard the neighbors' dog howling. Anyway, this simple exercise might save some contestants from Simon Cowell's wrath, not to mention humiliation on a national scale.

I have to admit though, these early auditions are my favorite part of "American Idol." When they get down to the really good singers, I lose interest. Despite my own lack of vocal skills, I find myself rating each contestant. I say things like, "That was a little pitchy", or "Pick a key, any key!" and ala Randy, "Dawg, it's a no." I have also found that a little "American Idol" phraseology is making its way into my normal everyday speech. For instance, if my husband were to tell me he got a big, hefty raise, I might exclaim, "We're goin' to Hollywood!"

So thanks to "American Idol," not only am I enjoying mindless entertainment and expanding my vocabulary, I'm also learning more about African wildlife.

The cost of TV via our 50-foot antenna $0. The guilty pleasure of "American Idol," priceless.