American Idol runner up Clay Aiken has decided to run for U.S. Congress in his home state of North Carolina.
So it’s probably a good time to finally clear up the confusion: Is politics really like “American Idol”?
Since the show took the country by storm in 2002, it’s not uncommon to hear politics compared to an Idol-style popularity contest—and not necessarily in a good way.
On the other hand, “American Idol” is about as undemocratic as they come.
There’s no Simon Cowell or Paula Abdul to give Aiken a quick pass into the general election from a crowded Democratic primary, and when America votes, it’s one person, one vote in this country – no text messaging or phone calls from the voting booth allowed.
But for what it’s worth, let’s take a look at where reality TV and political reality intersect.
|North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District Election|
|Tens of thousands of contestants audition, a few hundred move to the next round||Auditions||So far, Aiken and two Democrats have announced they’ll run against one incumbent, Rep. Renee Ellmers, who is facing a GOP challenger.|
|A yes from a majority of the judges will get you a ticket to Hollywood!||Golden ticket||Meet the constitutional requirements and the state residency requirements to run for Congress and you’re in!|
|A week’s worth of grueling singing, song writing, and group performances to separate the wheat from the chafe.||Hollywood Week||The Democratic primary. Aiken will face debates and old fashioned campaigning.|
|The top 12 performers||Finalists||One Democrat and one Republican face off in the general election.|
|Season 2: Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson||The judges||The media|
|Text message and phone. Voting multiple times is allowed.||America votes||One person, one vote at the ballot box.|