So much changed in pop culture following the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Back then, in the aftermath of the tragedy, Americans were floundering--feeling lost, frightened, insecure, unsafe. Almost instantly, dozens movies and shows were shelved or drastically re-edited, and more than 100 potentially offensive songs were yanked from radio playlists. This was a time when Americans didn't want "edgy" entertainment, but familiar, cozy fare that would make them feel hopeful and encouraged--the televised equivalent of comfort food.
Since then, "American Idol" has clung close to traditional values and its undying promotion of the American dream, making stars out of relatable everymen and everywomen, usually from the South or from small towns. Nine seasons after Kelly, the eventual Season 10 winner, country boy Scotty McCreery, even had a moment covering Alan Jackson's 9/11 anthem "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)," only days after the capture and assassination of Osama bin Laden.
"American Idol" has gotten a little edgier since its inception, as evidenced by envelope-pushing contestants like Adam Lambert, Siobhan Magnus, Crystal Bowersox, James Durbin, Paul McDonald, and Casey Abrams; the constant swearing of rock-rebel judge Steven Tyler; and guest musical acts like Lady Gaga and Iggy Pop. But the show at its core is still proudly old-fashioned, still providing "comfort food" to viewers as other international tragedies, from Hurricane Katrina to the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan to the Norway shootings, have dominated the headlines and our psyches.
Many Idols have, unsurprisingly, expressed their emotions regarding 9/11's tenth anniversary today, taking to Twitter to share directly with friends and followers--just like the rest of us. They are artists of the people, after all. One Idol, Season 4's Anthony Federov, even recorded a special YouTube video and song to commemorate the day. "In support of their sacrifice, please share this video with everyone you know and love," the intro for "What Freedom Costs" declares. "'What Freedom Costs' was written and is dedicated to all of our service men and women around the world who risk their lives every day so we can live ours freely."
Watch Anthony's 9/11 tribute video, and feel free to share your own memories and thoughts on the message board below.
[photo courtesy of Fox]
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