Thank the Lord for talent shows like ‘American Idol,’ which prove with inspiring contestants like Noah Davis and Alyssa Raghu, that the American Dream is still alive and well.
When Alyssa Raghu, a 15-year-old from Florida, told judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie that her dad was her best friend, it was a reminder of all that is good in the world. In these dark times, with a president who lies and insults daily, assails democratic institutions, condones pedophilia, fends off accusations of sexual harassment and affairs, and who profits from his office, it’s so refreshing to see family love and earnestness alive on the American Idol reboot. Alyssa, whose stunning and mature voice blew away the judges, explained that her dad had raised her on his own since his wife left when his daughter was just two years old. Her father took her to all her singing lessons, supported her dreams, drove her to her American Idol audition, and cried when she was rewarded with a golden ticket to Hollywood.
How wonderful for the show to feature a father who clearly fervently believes in gender equality — doesn’t want to date his daughter — but instead, will be her champion for life. Then, there was Ron Bultongez, who fled his life in the Congo, for safety reasons, and immigrated to America 10 years ago. Despite coming from a continent that was described in derogatory terms by our commander-in-chief, he proved exactly why we want and need immigrants in this country. Ron has worked exceedingly hard at entry level jobs to make a life here, and now has a girlfriend and son of his own. He explained that his father was abusive to him when he was growing up, but instead of being angry or bitter, he reflects that his father was most likely also subjected to abuse. “That cycle stops right now,” he earnestly spoke to the camera. “My son will be raised with love.” Isn’t that exactly the epitome of what truly makes America great? This is a country for hard working immigrants with dreams to make new lives and to contribute. And, Ron’s heartfelt performance — singing with his guitar — won over Luke Bryan, immediately, and then Lionel Richie. Ron couldn’t wait to Facetime with his girlfriend and baby son to break the exciting news to them.
And, how about Arkansas farmer’s son Noah Davis, 18, who blushed like crazy talking to the judges, but then confidently sat down at the piano and launched into a soaring version of Rihanna’s “Stay.” Drop-dead beautiful. His farmer father couldn’t have been more proud of his son — who definitely wouldn’t be taking over the family farm — giving him a big hug when he emerged with his golden ticket to Hollywood.
Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie all come from diverse backgrounds and couldn’t have been more open, interested and supportive of the wide variety of young people singing their hearts out in front of them. It’s a reminder of what America is really about — a land of hope, welcoming from around the world, “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” At least on Idol, the American Dream is still alive!