The first time it happened by accident. Now, though, I routinely search the web to find out who has been eliminated before the American Idol results show airs here on the west coast, three hours after the live broadcast to the other half of the country. It makes it a whole lot easier to take Ryan Seacrestís puerile ramblings and insipid jokes if the ďsuspenseĒ isnít part of the equation.
Of course I still watch the show. I watch it because everyone else is watching it. Iím not ashamed to admit that Iím part of the national phenomenon, and that I get off on being in tune with the cool kids for once in my life. And I have to say that even though I knew two and a half hours early who would be leaving tonight, I still had tears in my eyes when the curtain came down.
I donít know about this ďsuspenseĒ business. There are definitely times when I donít want to know how something will end. The buildup can be greater than the conclusion, which is often anticlimactic. In a work of drama or narrative, I donít want to hear the ending, and Iíll fight you if you try to tell me. Some creative mind has made an effort to surprise or excite an audience, and I only want to be part of that experience. Iíll be watching the finale of Lost next Wednesday with everybody else, on the edge of my seat.
And, by the way, Iíll be TiVoing the Idol finale, which airs at the same time. I suspect Iíll watch it at 10:00 pm, right after Lost, but it wonít take me two hours to get through it. More like ten minutes
But hereís the confession it most pains me to divulge. I like knowing how a baseball game ends. Most of the time I watch the game live, so thereís no one to tell me the final score. I donít know any psychics, seers or soothsayers, so I have to find out who wins by watching the game. And that can be rewarding, Iíll admit, especially if something dramatic happens in the late innings. Once again, Iím on the edge of my seat.
But it takes nothing away from the experience if I miss a game live and then learn the result before I get around to watching the recording. I can still savor every pitch and every nuance — as long as the Giants win! Because frankly, if I have a game on tape and I know my team has lost, Iím not gonna watch it. Thatís just the way it is.