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The Farr Side: Disturbing division for ‘Idol’ top 10

The Farr Side: Disturbing division for ‘Idol’ top 10

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony...” Do you remember that song? It’s simple message of love, hope and togetherness helped sell a lot of Coca-Cola in the early 1970s. The song was performed by The Hillside Singers and featured a multi-cultural gathering of young singers spread across a hill.

The “Buy the World a Coke” campaign was a major success on many levels. It put The Hillside Singers on the Billboard Hot 100, where the song peaked at No. 13. The song was later recorded by the New Seekers and it reached No. 7. The song also became one of the most successful TV ad campaigns of all time.

The song has come back to mind while watching “American Idol.” Could it be because Maddie Poppe has done such a good job reviving songs from the bygone era, like “Brand New Key” or “Homeward Bound”? Possibly.

But Poppe’s nostalgia trips are not entirely the reason. I’ve enjoyed ABC’s reboot of “American Idol.” It has been a blast watching Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan judge the incredible talent pool. They’ve done a stellar job finding talented singers to compete for the “Idol” crown.

It has been almost gut-wrenching watching the contestant pool get whittled down to the top 24, let alone the top 14. There were so many good singers this year, I would not have wanted that task.

The night the top 10 was named was the most difficult. All 14 were excellent. It was a diverse group, including contestants from all walks of life, but that doesn’t matter on “American Idol,” which always has been about talent. White, black, male, female, gay, straight, fat, thin — it’s all the same. This is supposed to be a show where America has its say.

At the last minute, it was made known the top six from America’s vote would make the top 10. The other four would be chosen by the judges to round out the top 10.

As the stage was divided into the two groups, it was obvious something was not right. It was divided, all right: One side was clearly white, with exception of Michael B. Woodard; the other was predominantly of color or the LGBTQ community.

It was disturbing to think America had a say in that outcome. I was shocked to see this, but no more shocked than the judges. Thank God they had the ability to bring four more choices to round out the top 10. The top 10 were Maddie Poppe, Cade Foehner, Gabby Barrett, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Michael J. Woodard and Catie Turner. The judges added Ada Vox, Jurnee, Michelle Sussett and Dennis Lorenzo.

Last Sunday, the top 10 became the top seven. And, wouldn’t you know it? America put through the same top six and Jurnee was able to make the top seven.

America! This is a singing competition. What has happened? I’m distraught over the prejudice. Granted, this has been an incredible season for talent, but I’m not so blinded by it that I can’t see what is happening.

I love all these singers and wish them well. But I’m hoping for a miracle. I hope we can heal as a country and be whole again. Voting is important, and not just for a show like “American Idol.” Get out and teach the world we all can sing in perfect harmony.

— David T. Farr can be reached at farrboy@hotmail.com. You also can find The Farr Side on Facebook.

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