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The More Things Change...

I've been out of the loop a while, TV-wise. First, there was the baseball playoffs, and then there was a cross-state move, robbing me of television's warm embrace for a couple weeks. And, of course, there was that bout of the death flu.

So imagine my surprise -- once the warm, embracing glow of television was restored to my life -- when I turned on the set to see Fox's relentless promotion of its American Idol Christmas special. That'd be the special that featured Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken -- or as they're known in the Michaels homestead, who?, huh?, and that yokel who inexplicably commands Christ-like fealty from the Wal-Mart nation -- singing all your holiday favorites. Oh, but not just singing them, the Fox advertisement stressed -- performing them "Idol-style."

If you're like me, you might be wondering just exactly what "Idol-style" is. Near as I can tell, it's a convenient shorthand for "belting out popular standards like you're an alley cat being stuffed in a sack in order to compensate for a lack of innate talent." But if it means having to watch the "American Idol" crowd murder "O Holy Night," I'm just going to have to live with that nagging uncertainty.


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