Don't get me wrong, I like the revamped American Idol just fine.
I didn't think I would enjoy all the changes as much as I have, but I do. But I just came up with something that should be included as part of the competition, something I started thinking about after the Christina National Anthem Debacle of 2011.
See, I was disappointed and upset for Christina. We know she can sing it, she's done it before. But at an event like the Super Bowl that I hold sacred to the uber-patriot in me, I demand excellence during the anthem. And that's why I automatically assumed I'd be putting Christina's performance on the list of Anthem Greatest Hits, maybe right up between the Whitney Sweatfest and The Dixie Chicks. It was supposed to be a gimme.
And then it occurred to me. Being the American Idol should literally be just that -- you are the best singer as voted on by the American people. You gotta represent. And obviously, you gotta be able to knock the national anthem outta the park. At a moment's notice. Under any circumstances. In any weather.
So I have two thoughts on how American Idol can literally be an American Idol in the most patriotic sense of the word.
1) One week, the theme should be Patriotic Music. Everyone has to sing one patriotic-ish song, and The Star Spangled Banner acapella. The President will be a special guest judge, as will be the entire House of Representatives. In fact, maybe this week of competition should take place right on the Senate floor.
Patriotic song choices could include: This Land Is My Land... America The Beautiful... God Bless America... Born in the USA... Tom Petty's American Girl... Kanye's American Boy... We're An American Band... Living in America... God Bless The USA... Coming To America...
2) Throw out what we know about American Idol days of olde, and start over. The entire goal is to find the ultimate and best performance of the national anthem ever. The. Best. Ever.
Every week The Star Spangled Banner gets sung. By everyone.
But every week, a new challenge. Like, first week, everyone has to sing The Star Spangled Banner acapella with music of something else playing in their ears.
The next week they have to sing in the rain.
The next week they get woken up in the middle of the night and have to immediately perform at 3AM.
The next week they have to sing at a Pee-Wee Football Game somewhere in the middle of the country (actual towns to be selected in some elaborate contest sponsored by Ford.)
The week after that, they have to sing in a different style of music. If they sung the anthem in a country-rock style, now they have to sing along with a classical orchestra.
The next week, they do their hometown visits, and in the middle of a photo-op at their local supermarket, they have to sing the anthem right on the spot. Over the PA. And then announce the deli specials.
In the finals, Idol producers slip a non-fatal virus to the Top Three, and then put each through a rigorous and elaborately choreographed Star Spangled Banner performance, where they have to sing all twenty verses in the original anthem, accompanied by a band they've never met before. All while burning a high fever.
The Final Two then have to do a showdown of the best recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, and a pop-quiz of the nation's capitals and past presidents.
The winner then ends the finale with a stunning performance of a new patriotic song, penned by Bono and Avril Lavigne especially for the event.
SO. Whattya'll think?