Although we are probably more similar than different, I have been reminded of another difference between Americans and Canadians if the two versions of the Idol shows are anything indication; and, I'm the first to admit that they may not be. Still, permit me to make my little observation, and please stop rolling your eyes at my Idol mention, for this post is not about Idol but a thought that I began to consider while I was watching the program this week. I'll put it out there and see if any might either agree or disagree with me.
At least one person was criticized for her inadequate clothing sense, and at least one was complimented for the reverse. Notice, I said, "At least," for it may have been more; I simply wasn't paying strict and close attention at the time. My point is that it's certainly not an uncommon critique offered by the judges. I thought to myself, "That [critiquing clothing] doesn't happen on Canadian Idol." Frankly, if the American judges could see how many Canadian contestants garbed themselves, they would be almost certain to ... I dunno ... at least gasp or shudder, I suppose.
Beyond clothing, lies the appearance aspect in general. Canadian Idol contestants seems to come in all shapes and sizes, some not terribly pretty. But as I looked at all 36 American contestants that were assembled on stage on Wednesday night, what I saw looking back at me were three dozen, pretty good-looking kids. While I might not be the best equipped to rate the guys, let me tell you that a great many of the ladies were extremely attractive with flawless hair, sparkling eyes and teeth, and slim, appealing bodies. In other words and for the most part, American Idol tends (please note the qualifier) to choose the kids who seem to be groomed (so to speak) for the star part. While I realize there are some exceptions from time to time, I would argue that those exceptions prove the rule.
Let's face it, generally speaking, one does have to look pretty good to make it on the American music scene. In fact, I tend to believe that the look must usually precede the talent. Have a gander at almost any young musical artist and then tell me it isn't true. So, I suppose American Idol is doing the right thing in a way by being conscious of appearance. I'm not saying that Americans do it wrong or that we Canadians do it right. All I'm saying is that we seem to do it a bit differently. I am suggesting that in some way, the two shows reveal a difference between the values of the two cultures, which, I hasten to add, on a world scale are more alike than different.