For the first time in 10 seasons, "American Idol" hit Milwaukee for an audition round. Milwaukee: Best known for cheese, beer and Danny Gokey. To honor the occasion, I'm drinkin' a brewsky (imported, natch), nibbling on some cheddar, (Cheez-Its, natch) and I don't plan on ever, ever shutting up.
Mr. Gokey returned to "Idol" during Wednesday night's (January 26) audition episode, happily telling hopeful contestants, "In a moment your life can change, you guys!" He's right — it only takes an instant (and a tragic back story) to turn you into the target of "Idol" bloggers' venom and resentment.
Which brings us to Chris Medina, the most polarizing contestant since the Gokester. (I know Julie Andrews says, "Let's start at the very beginning," but she's not the boss of me. I'm doing this blog "Memento" style, starting at the end and working my way back. Deal with it, Maria von Trapp.)
Medina's narrative is the stuff of Lifetime movie legends. Deeply in love, engaged to a Starbucks barista, only to have his life turned upside down when his fiancée suffers major brain injuries in a severe car accident (that briefly put her in a coma) months before the wedding. Intense. (Or campy, if Meredith Baxter Birney is involved.) Now Chris spends his days strapping his soul mate into her wheelchair, making small talk with her caretaker mom and writing painfully earnest love songs to his ailing bride with his band, named — I kid you not — the Able Body.
In other words, when "Idol" producers met him, they said, "Jackpot!"
The story is inspiring, and Medina's dedication to his fiancée Juliana is admirable. Heck, beyond admirable. So why did his audition segment make me feel ickier than a pool full of mucus?