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Thanks to my 12-step stress rehab program I have not seen a single episode of American Idol or the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona. However, despite my efforts to cling to happy ignorance, I
cannot help but hear friends, colleagues and random strangers discussing AI and the impeachment, and from these overheard conversations form an opinion on matters I should know nothing about.
I have come to the conclusion that AI and the impeachment may be the same thing.
(Thanks to Ernie, Bert and Kermit for their contributions to this piece.)
1. American Idol and the impeachment trial are ratings blockbusters for their respective TV networks, followed by millions of viewers who are emotionally invested in their outcomes.
1.1. Both have protagonists taking their case to the court of public opinion.
1.1.1. On AI, the contestants demonstrate their musical talents.
1.1.2. In the impeachment, the witnesses tell the prosecutors what they know about the case.
1.1.3. In both instances, the audience expects them to sing. The more sensational the performance, the better.
1.2. Both feature famous judges ruling on the proceedings.
1.2.1. The celebrity judges on American Idol are styled and coiffed to within an inch of their lives. They’re in show business after all, and image is everything.
1.2.2. The Senator-judges in the impeachment trial are styled and coiffed to within an inch of their lives. They're in politics after all, and image is everything.
1.2.3. Rock star Steven Tyler has been around forever and seen things you wouldn't believe. Among his greatest hits are "Dude Looks Like A Lady" and "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing".
1.2.4. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has been around forever and seen things you wouldn't believe, and in the impeachment trial he is the rock star. Among his greatest hits are the martial law declaration, the call for People Power in 1986, and "Gusto Ko Happy Ka".
1.2.5. Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez first achieved fame through her most famous asset: her behind.
1.2.6. Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago first achieved fame through her most famous asset: her mouth (Though she is proud of her legs). We haven't heard her sing, but we're sure she's a better singer than J-Lo.
1.3. In both cases, the people have the final say.
1.3.1. As pundits predicted, the US audience voted for the cute white guy.
1.3.2. Many Filipinos found a way to vote for finalist Jessica Sanchez, who is of Filipino descent.
220.127.116.11. Her mother is Filipino. Her father is Mexican. She's an American. There's a reason the show is called "American Idol".
18.104.22.168. Please do not lodge a diplomatic protest over the final decision of American Idol - unless you can prove that Garci counted the votes.
1.3.3. The Senators will decide on the fate of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
1.3.4. The Filipino electorate will decide on the fate of the Senators, Congressmen, and all parties involved in the impeachment. Elections, everybody!
1.4. Follow the money
1.4.1. The winner of American Idol will get lucrative professional contracts and endorsement deals that should lead to sizeable dollar accounts.
1.4.2. The Chief Justice is being asked to explain why he has so many dollar accounts.
2. Recapping the shows
2.1. The judges have the power to save those on trial.
2.1.1. In the previous rounds of American Idol, Jessica Sanchez was saved from elimination by the judges.
2.1.2. In the impeachment, Chief Justice Corona hopes to be saved by the judges.
2.2. There have been marked differences in the conduct of the two main protagonists.
2.2.1. When Jessica Sanchez was saved by the judges, the emcee asked her if she was surprised that she landed in the bottom 3. She replied, "No…I don't expect anything. I just do what I do."
2.2.2. Before Chief Justice Corona walked out of his hearing he announced, "The Chief Justice wishes to be excused," fully expecting his wish to be granted. He did not wait for a reply from the court.
2.3. There are also marked differences in the attitudes of the protagonists' relatives.
2.3.1. During the American Idol finals, the friends and relatives of the two finalists came to show their support.
2.3.2. During the impeachment trial, Chief Justice Corona's relatives, the Basas, came to show their antipathy.
2.4. Medical issues have figured prominently in both cases.
2.4.1. Phillip Philips' health problem (kidney disease) did not prevent him from appearing on American Idol every week. It may have gained him some sympathy votes.
2.4.2. Chief Justice Corona cited health problems (hypoglycemia/diabetes/cardiac issues) as the reason for his non-appearance at his impeachment trial last week. Will it gain him some sympathy?
3. The Verdict
3.1. There was a lot of crying going on.
3.1.1. When the finalists cry on American Idol, the audience cries with them.
3.1.2. When Chief Justice Corona cried, the people watching TV at my friend's office laughed. (Cruel, cruel people.)
3.2. The post-show/trial career
3.2.1. Jessica Sanchez will have a career in the entertainment industry whether or not the people find Phillips' victory an impeachable act.
3.2.2. If the verdict goes against Chief Justice Corona, his career and that of his main political ally is kaput.
Then again, this is the Philippines.