I admit it. For all eight seasons, I have counted myself among the mindless hordes who tune in to American Idol week after week. I get sucked in every year, hooked on the curious hybrid of you-too-could-win-the-fame-and-fortune lottery and the Springer-esque train wreck of the poor and misguided talentless among us. And no matter how many rants my family and friends subject me to about how mainstream, how completely and utterly uncool the entire premise is, I keep watching. And, luckily for our marital cohesiveness, my husband keeps watching right along with me.
My kids on the other hand, are less enthusiastic viewers. After our oldest broke down in tears after Season 2’s finale, he went into full-on boycott mode. (Okay, so maybe our refusal to vote for Rueben despite his young pleading may have jaded him, but I’m still convinced that we did it for his own good.) Over the years, we’ve tried to coax him back, but our success has been limited to the most atrocious of auditioners. Our youngest, on the other hand is a born music lover. Her attention is riveted to the best singers and the most polished performances, but she snubs that good ol’ American tradition of laughing at those even more talent-challenged than yourself. I suspect that the sole reason she watches at all is because during commercials, she takes the stage to show up the contestants and demand endless applause and accolades as her due.
But still, I’m determined to find a way to make American Idol live up to its family show billing. I’ve decided the key to accomplishing that goal is making the experience both interactive enough to hold a 5-year-old’s attention and yet cynical enough to entertain my cool-conscious preteen. The solution, you ask? American Idol bingo, of course!
A little research uncovered the predecessors to my game. Twenty minutes later, I had four custom bingo cards, half sarcastic fun-poking and half attention-demanding trivia hunt. I plan to test drive the game tonight so we’ll see how it goes. I figure snagging a rootbeer out of the pop machine to offer as the grand prize should be enough to get my pop-deprived kids to perk right up!