Cream rises to the top

Times Staff Writer

And so one journey ends and another begins. After watching contenders parade by during the last three weeks it's difficult to determine the shape of the race. But as the final video tribute revealed, the audition process paints a macrocosm of American hopes and delusions as vast as this republic. Viewers are now pointed toward the great competition that soon begins.

On this tour, "American Idol" has truly clutched the entire nation to its chest -- a nation of borderline cases and of heroic determination to overcome adversity in order to fulfill "Idol" dreams. Of the 100,000 who trooped past, somewhere in the neighborhood of 99,980 believed that their destinies lay in stardom. But somewhere in that group viewers met the next champion, and within the next two weeks his or her face will emerge from the crowd and the halo of greatness will begin to form.

So let us pause for a moment to honor those who believed in their dreams enough to risk mockery and humiliation to achieve them, and those who believed in their dreams enough that they saw mockery and humiliation as the path to achieving them. On both sides, they touched viewers' lives and we stand humbled.

And most important, I think what is most beautiful about the "Idol" experience can be summed up in this: that an entire segment can be devoted to twins rapping about the Brittenum twins, and that the show can assume its audience knows fully well who the Brittenum twins are, so that any background refreshers would be entirely tedious and superfluous.

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richard.rushfield @latimes.com

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