Earl and I just finished watching the finale of “American Idol”. First of all, I’m surprised that I followed it, what with me being all anti-reality TV and all. But, once upon a time I had hopes of being a music teacher and I was the Program Director of a Top 40 radio station for five years, so I kind of get a kick to hear these people sing.

You’ve probably heard. Ruben Studdard won American Idol. Big deal. He wasn’t the best vocalist of the finalists, and he’s a lousy interview. Clay Aiken was clearly the better of the two but as we all know, you don’t really need talent to be a “pop star” these days. If anything, Clay was overqualified for the job. Now he can move onto something good.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not. I’m sure Ruben will have a great career, and with enough computer enhancement he’ll sound like the best of them. Hell, he could even sound like Cher with enough CPU power behind his voice. But when it comes to the basics, the boy can’t hold a note longer than four beats. He’s under the misguided perception that he has to “slide” all over a note. He has to add extra words. The spinning sound you heard earlier in the evening was Karen Carpenter in her grave in reaction to his rendition of “Superstar”. Last night, he sang John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Yoko Ono could have done better than Ruben. (And we all know what she sounds like). But the judges and crowd acted like he just walked across a lake. I must be missing something. Maybe I’m getting old.

Another problem I see… I perceive this boy to be terribly lazy. There’s no way he’ll ever keep up with the mental stress and physical demands of the job. Mark this down – Clay’s CD will outsell Ruben’s 2 to 1. Mark my words. Ruben Studdard will be “Ruben who?” by the year 2005. Clay Aiken will still be Clay Aiken, “Superstar” by 2007.