“American Idol” Demonstrates the Importance of Voting

Yes, it sounds strange, doesn't it? But I believe it to be true. Those of us HeadCount know that every vote is important in deciding an election, but it is sometimes hard to impress this on the general public (especially youth) because in this vastly growing nation and world, it is easy to feel like one of billions.

For those of you who aren't 'Idol' watchers, this week was an "upset" week. For those of us who have been watching for many seasons, this is usually the week that it happpens--that is, one of those who was formerly in the top goes home as we watch the person who really should get the boot glide through to next week. Everyone in the audience (as well as those three judges we LOVE to hate) are all shocked as they "boo" the decision. But they essentially made the decision either by voting for someone else, or abstaining from the vote. Last night, as I watched the oh-so-cute Australian gentlemen who made me think fondly of the late 80s with his rendition of "Don't you forget about me," it made me think that this guilty pleasure, prime time show may be doing more than meets the eye.

Although on a smaller scale than any presidential election, this contest demostrates the power of the vote. Its base that participates is mostly the youth of the country, who swoon over the cute guys, and want to be the pretty girls. They get their results quickly and feel the pangs of the person who goes home swiftly. It is really a stroke of genius, if you think about it. These people are getting used to voting from the age of 7 or 9, as opposed to 18.

Perhaps the connection does not translate as I have laid out here, but I like to think that it can. Now in it's 7th season, there are  people who are currently 18 who were 11 when the show first came out. Perhaps having had this television powerhouse as an example of 'democratic' music choice, with Ryan Seacrest saying every week, "If you don't like the results, you should vote" will help the young people to realize the concept is the same in our political arena.