I never really got interested in the latest American Idol contestants until the night they sang music from the Rat Pack era. That was fascinating for me because that’s the music I grew up on. I remember being twelve years old and sitting in front of the radio in our living room and squealing over one of Frank Sinatra’s songs because I thought it was a cool thing to do. My mother quickly put a stop to that and told me “not to be so ridiculous.” But it was what the bobby socks generation did and I wanted to be a part of it.
Later, of course, television brought the ‘rat pack’ right into our living rooms and many nights were spent watching both the Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra shows—in black and white, of course. Variety shows were the reality events of those days and they were a great diversion.
One of the most enjoyable evenings of entertainment I ever had was when my husband and I flew to Reno, Nevada for a 25th anniversary treat. We drove up to Lake Tahoe to see Sammy Davis Jr. at Harrah’s and he was totally amazing. My husband gave the bellman a twenty dollars tip so we would get seated as close to the front as possible. Even though Sammy’s lungs were already giving him trouble, he sang every song in his repertoire. I remember his big smile with porcelain white teeth in his expressive black face and, of course, the sparkling “bling” he wore on almost every finger. The teeth and the diamonds were equally blinding when the spotlights were turned on him.
Anyhow, since I don’t usually like the raucous singing of this younger generation, I was not only surprised, but completely blown away by how well each of the four contestants did with the songs they chose. I was torn to pick my favourite, although I have liked Kris Allen since the beginning. In spite of Simon’s comment, I loved his rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight.”
But when Adam Lambert, came strolling down that staircase “a la Sinatra in the ‘40s and ‘50s”, it took my breath away. And it became extremely difficult for me to choose between the two of them. Now this week I note, Allison is gone—three are left—and what will happen to these talented young people after May 19th, we will have to wait and see. They’re all pretty deserving in my book.