I want to get something off my chest about American Idol.
First, my disclaimer: I don’t like the show. I watch it, because John watches it. But I don’t find it very entertaining. I enjoyed Seasons 3 and 4, but after that, I’ve just had a really hard time connecting to any kind of story in the show. I mostly now watch it as a kind of side-show with votefortheworst.
Now, my rant.
I think in almost every one of the past few seasons of Idol, there’s been some guy who comes to the audition and says something like “my wife just gave birth to our first child– an hour ago!!!” And then the judges all listen and hope he has a voice worth putting through, because otherwise, they’re going to pay plane fare to Hollywood for yet another tearjerker story that doesn’t have a chance of making it.
To my mind, these guys who do this are scum. Total scum. Not for manipulating the judges/audience, because that may have more to do with the producers than with the guys themselves. No. They are scum because they chose to attend a singing audition instead of their child’s birth.
Now, think about this purely from the point of view of the guy, ok? There are several possible outcomes of an American Idol audition. 1) You don”t make it through to Hollywood. You missed your kid’s birth for a rejection. 2) You make it to Hollywood, but are cut or voted out before the final 10 or 12 or however many they let into the tour. You missed your kid’s birth for a little bit of TV exposure, but no job or singing contract. 3) You make it to the finalists, so you get on the tour, but you don’t win the show. You missed your kid’s birth to become a c-list celebrity. 4) You win. You missed your kid’s birth for a some money and fame, and entry into an extremely unstable job in the toughest, least sympathetic industry on the planet.
There are other outcomes, like “you are so bad, you become the next William Hung.” In which case, you missed your kid’s birth to become a punchline.
My rant is thus: If you miss your kid’s birth in order to go on American Idol, the very best outcome is that you have traded an irreplaceable life’s moment for money, fame, and an unstable job. You are the worst dad ever. Your kid is never going to be born again (even if they become Christian!) but opportunities to break into singing will recur. Your priorities are totally wrong. Even if you aren’t with your kid’s mother, you have just put your job, your career, and your money ahead of your child.
Your kid is going to notice that, because I assure you, if you think auditioning for American Idol is more important that being there for the birth of your child, then you’re going to put that kid last after a lot of other things in life.
The kicker of this is that American Idol auditions happen in cities all over the country, so you could conceivably travel to and catch an audition in another city, if your wife/girlfriend went into labor the morning of the Idol auditions. This audition: it is not your last chance to stand in front of the judges and sing.
This day is, however, your only chance to see your child take his or her first breath. This is your only chance to capture those first seconds of life and really understand what the words “love at first sight” mean. This is your only moment to actually, deeply, completely understand what the lyrics of “Isn’t She Lovely” mean. You want to be a singer? Then man up and get your ass to the hospital, live life the way other people live, so you can connect with your audience’s experiences. I do not ever want to hear you sing about how much you love your kid if you ditched out on that kid’s birth to go to a singing audition. Disingenuous doesn’t even begin to describe it, buddy.
American Idol will also be there next year– it’s highly unlikely that Fox is going to pull the plug on this little money-maker for the next 3-5 years. If you had waited in line for three days and then walked away from the audition so you could be at the birth of your child, when you audition next year, you better believe they’re going to put your story on camera. Ryan Seacrest: “Oh, this is your daughter? How old is she?” You: “She’s a year old– I left the audition last year at this time because my wife was in labor. I’d choose her over anything, any time, but I’m doing this to give her everything I can.” *sniff sniff* And the crowd goes wild.
Please note that my rant hasn’t even addressed the problem of leaving your baby’s mother to go through childbirth without your support. That is such a jerk move, I can’t even form the words.