‘American Idol’ — the Judy-Deanna Version

Adam Lambert and Kris Allen.jpg
Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin in Every Sunday.jpg




Now that our Idol hangover is over, we may regain some composure and perspective about the relative importance of a manipulated mass election — sounds presidential, no? — within the body politic of popular culture. Right? Then how do I explain why I woke up literally singing the word “swing” — but like a cat wail, “swiiiiiiinnnnnng.”

Judy was talking to me again.

“Didn’t you see me?” she asked. “I was hard to miss. I had to share some space with Freddie, but I like Freddie, and even with that awful Lee” — I knew instinctively that she meant Liberace — “but that was mostly me inside Adam.”

And inside Kris? “Yes, it was dear Deanna.”

But Judy, Adam lost, and you …

“Won? I’m 40-years dead, sweetie, and dear Deanna’s still kicking.”

So that’s why I couldn’t get my eyes off chubby Glambert, why in spite of his mall-nite hair and lycra-sausage limbs I waited week after week to watch his raw, unstoppable, insoucient nerve.

If for reasons of age or memory you don’t know which Judy or Deanna I mean, please let me offer a holiday reprise of American Idol’s earlier version, an MGM short subject from 1936 called Every Sunday. In it, 14-year-olds Judy and Deanna are introduced to the filmgoing public in a sweet cinematic duel: classical versus swing. But they’re not really rivals; in fact, the girls are as tender in their teamwork as Adam and Kris.

If you like, you can drag the YouTube bar and start the piece at three minutes, but the whole thing is only 10, so take a chance.


By the way, after seeing the short, some MGM genius told a line producer to “dump the fat one.”

And in case any novice wants to know why Judy is indelible, just slide the button to 6:20 and look at the way this teenager moves her hips and lips when she gets into her groove and instructs us to … swing. 

I guess I still take her advice to heart.

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