Southern Pride and American Idol

Americal Idol LogoThis is something I hate to admit, but I am an American Idol fan. Yes, it’s true. My wife and I both are hooked.Today’s Washington Post may have unlocked the mystery of why we like the show so much. It turns out that the most successful people on the show are southerners who learned to sing in church. Here’s an excerpt:

For five years, the most wildly popular talent contest on American television has been dominated — thoroughly, totally and completely — by kids from Southern Hicksville, USA. Seven of the eight top-two finishers in the first four years were from states that once formed the Confederacy, and five of the seven remaining finalists this season are, too.

Home towns of winners and runners-up: Burleson, Tex. Columbus and Snellville, Ga. Birmingham and Huntsville, Ala. Chapel Hill and High Point, N.C. The lone outsider in the top tier, last year’s winner, Carrie Underwood, only emphasizes the point — she hails from Checotah, Okla. (pop. 3,400). This is Merle Haggard, “Okie From Muskogee” territory. . .

It is tempting to draw the cultural connection here. Southern kids grow up singing in churches and small-town festivals in a region that emphasizes the voice, whether in storytelling or song, and thus are possessors of raw cultural gifts (source).

The story goes on to downplay the cultural connection, but I think it may nevertheless be correct. Clearly the most talented and cultured people in America are from the south. Or, perhaps I am merely invoking my southern pride in an unconscious attempt to defend my taste for what would otherwise be considered a pretty goofy show.

In either case, the South still rocks. :)

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