I don't know how it happened. Honestly.
I am not a big fan of competition-style reality shows. Not only that, but I tend to prefer bands and singer/songwriter/musicians over singers who just sing (with some exceptions, most of whom recorded forty or fifty years ago). But for the first season ever, I am watching American Idol. And I'm really into it. I definitely have my favorites already. I'm invested. I am shocked, myself.
Let's just get this straight. I can't sing. Sometimes I can stay on tune, if I really pay attention and work at it. But I don't have a good singing voice. (I know this for a fact. I taped myself once, I'll admit it, out of curiosity, because I didn't think I sounded that bad, and I immediately taped over it because it was mortifying. That's when I learned that the voice we hear inside our own heads is not necessarily the same voice everyone else hears.)
But my biggest observation about American Idol is that I, personally, don't care so much about the singer's voice as I do about their personality (at this point, they all have pretty good voices, anyway). And I don't mean, "Oh, she's so sweet," or "He's so nice, please don't vote them off." I mean the personality they put into the songs. I got the impression that some of these singers memorized the lyrics as a bunch of syllables. That they had absolutely no idea what the songs they were singing were about. And that's sort of sad.
Because there's more notes to hit than musical ones. If you can't hit emotional notes, then you're just singing in another kind of off-key. If you're singing a happy song, I want to believe that you are the happiest person in the world. If you're singing a party song, I want you to get me off the couch and dancing through the sheer joy of your singing. If you're singing a love song, I want to feel loved. And if you're singing a song about breaking up with someone, it doesn't matter if you're male or female, I want to feel like you're breaking up with me.
No matter what song it is, no matter how many times I've heard it before, no matter how much it might be my favorite or least-favorite song, ever, I want to believe that you are the very first person who ever sang it, that you wrote it, last night, in your hotel room, on a napkin, and that it is the most important thing you'll ever sing.
And only a few people pulled that off. They're my favorites.