Kris Allen, of American Idol fame, is from Conway--where I live. In fact, he's a student at the university where I teach, though he's never been in one my classes. If he was, I'd make him sing his final exam, because I've never seen Kris perform. In fact, I've never watched an entire episode of Idol. Except once, when I was visiting my father-in-law and his wife, The Skull, on the mountain they live on in the southwest. My husband and I slept outside in a 60s-era Airstream whose plumbing wasn't hooked up. At night, I heard coyotes.
It was the season finale, the one with Clay Aiken versus that large dude who won and who has since disappeared. The Skull and I sat in her sunroom drinking glass after glass of redwine. There weren't a lot of places to sit in that room--it's full of doilies and antique quilts and magazines, so I perched on a fancy embroidered stool. The Skull teaches a dance class called "authentic movement" and she moved authentically around the tiny room during the show, displaying no irony whatsoever; she was pumped and I caught the bug, squealing along with her. At one point I squeezed her forearm. Our husbands stayed away from us, on the porch, smoking pipes and talking about fish. It was the closest I ever got to The Skull and I'm glad I watched the show with her.
Anyway, everyone's in a frenzy here in Arkansas, banks have his name on their LED displays, and if Kris keeps winning, he'll come to town and perform for just us. But the rumor is, Kris is a member of a cult and not the cult of American pop music either. A religious cult. Apparently the cult cuts you off from your family and friends and if you're not a member you can't even drive on their property. Not even to turn around if you're lost! But I guess Kris is outside the church's fold now and friends with Simon and Paula so maybe that cult claim is untrue, spread by people who are jealous of Kris. It does seem extreme. Unless Simon and Ryan are members too and the whole thing is a giant conspiracy to take over the world with a karaoke competition.
Which is to say, I'm gonna try and get Kris Allen fever. It should be easier to catch than swine flu, which hasn't come to Arkansas yet. Next time he's on, I'll watch him and maybe even vote for him and if he comes to town, I'll go watch him croon. Why not? I just have to figure out what night the show's on.