Last Sunday after church I was doing the required post sermon mingle, which (confession time) is hard for me, and a young man popped over with a gleeful and excited expression to tell our circle that he was going to be on American Idol Wednesday and that we had to watch. He was practically spinning with joy.
Jonathon is a nice young man who is differently abled. I was immediately worried that he might be crushed if the AI folks made fun of him. If he had made it to the next round we would know, and based on previous years the "audition shows" typically drop in one or two good auditions but basically roast the horrid and make fun of people who might not be aware that they are the butt of a joke. I asked Jonathon and his mom if they were prepared for the judges to be unkind. Jonathon laughed and said "Oh yeah, Simon said my singing was horrendous" and then he spun away in glee.
Jonathon asked us to tape the show so he could have a copy and I agreed to do so. Frankly, I don't like the show mostly because of the audition shows. It's clear some of the folks who are on the show are not fully capable of doing their own taxes and I think it's terrible that they are the butt of a national joke. It's cruel - even if they did volunteer for it.
The show itself was a train wreck - thankfully many of the strange people were not from the Seattle area, but even though the show was recording on a second tv I couldn't turn it off in the living room. Jonathon was nowhere to be found in hour one, but suddenly before a commercial there was a teaser of what was to come. "Stay tuned for the good, the bad, and the.... (shot of Jonathon) cuddly.
When they finally got to him they did a little story about him and a young man he met in line and how they became fast friends. The "friend" was an odd looking diminutive dark haired boy with large googly eyes. Simon compared his looks to a big eyed animal that you would find in the jungle. The boy walked away his horror and was obviously hurt. Then it was Jonathon's turn. Fear gripped my heart.
His audition was not great and the judges told him that singing wasn't his thing, but basically they were nice to him. Simon commented that it was clear that Jonathon was a nice guy and Paula was positive about him finding something (outside of music) that would be "his thing." They did make fun of his weight but he seemed to take it in stride.
The Seattle Times interviewed Jonathon and his jungle animal friend and the friend is still really peeved about the experience, while Jonathon is soaking in the moment. He's enjoying the attention, agrees that the audition wasn't great, and hopes to find something else to do in the media.
Good for him! I wish I had the ability to find the good in any situation and to appreciate things for what they are.