The hell with a match. Hand me that flamethrower.

Let me preface this by saying I am not a reality TV junkie.

My husband, however, is. Blame him.

American Idol is the current show of choice in the Kemmerer household. This year, I’ve noticed several contestants singing a song made popular by someone of the opposite gender. A girl might sing that insufferable Jason Mraz song, I’m Yours. A guy might sing Bubbly by Colbie Callait.

You know what happens? It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s different.

And what’s amazing is that it’s effortless. It’s unexpected, so even a mediocre guy singer came across as being far more impressive than the seventeen year old blonde girl who sang Love Story by Taylor Swift. Poor imitation? Uh, yeah. When people call this a karaoke competition, that’s the kind of crap they’re talking about.

Writers talk a lot about finding something FRESH! and NEW! Well, there’s just not a whole lot of fresh and new running around. Especially when there’s a whole lot of tried-and-true sitting on the shelves in front of us. You can’t help but want to imitate. It’s human nature.

But no! We have to be innovative! We have to be original!

Then there’s the tendency to blow past all convention. Great? No. You get something way out there. No one can relate. It’s like the people who write their own bizarre songs and then sing them in the audition, or people who wear freakish outfits to get attention. No one gets it. It actually makes people uncomfortable.

“Fresh and new” really has nothing to do with “bigger and better.” It’s about tiny tweaks. Subtle shifts. Something unexpected about something very comfortable.

Like the average guy singing Bubbly. It just works.

One thought on “The hell with a match. Hand me that flamethrower.

  1. Insufferable? I like that song–or I did before I heard it five million times.

    I especially like what you said about not showing up at the audition with your own song or a strange outfit. Even if you’re good, no one’s going to get past a tune they’ve never heard before or your decision to dress like Uncle Sam.

    If all you’re doing as a writer is trying to find something that’s never been done before, you’re not necessarily going to come up with something original. You’re just going to come up with the realization of WHY that something has never been done before.

    Great post!

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