American Music Is Southern Music

AMERICAN IDOL: Logo 2009. CR: FOX

“American Idol,” a reality-based music singing competition on the Fox Network, has come to an end, and Yankees everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief, as their long, national nightmare is finally over.  Yankees haven’t been whipped this badly since Fredericksburg, and it’s a miracle they allowed the American Idol carnage to continue on as long as it did.  All totaled, there were 15 winners of American Idol, which included three from North Carolina, two from Alabama, one from Texas, one from Arkansas, one from Missouri, one from Georgia, one from South Carolina, and one from Mississippi.  Eleven of the fifteen winners were proud, Southern singers directly from Dixie.  But wait, it gets worse.  When you add all the contestants who came in second place, then you have nineteen out of thirty finalists representing the South.

At one point during this final season, five of the Top Six were from Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and two from Mississippi.  In Season 1, the Top Three included two from Texas and one from Georgia.  In Season 2, the Top Three included Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee.  Seasons 3, 10, 12, and 15 featured an all-Southern finale.  In fact, there were only two seasons out of all fifteen that DID NOT have at least one Southerner in the finale.

In college, I was taught that the best way to get a true picture of something is to look at a larger sample size.  So what if we look at ALL of the top contestants scattered out over all fifteen seasons?  Some seasons featured a Top 10, and other seasons featured a Top 12.  Either way, the total number of “top” contestants over all fifteen seasons of American Idol was 178, and 92 of them came from 12 little Southern states.  Even though the South makes up only one-third of the total US population, we provided almost 60% of the contestants on American Idol.

There were no winners from either New York or California, which we are often told are the artistic beacons of American society. How can there not be a single winner out of the 8.5 million people from the so-called cultural paradise of New York City, yet this season’s finale pitted McComb, Mississippi versus Amory, Mississippi (a COMBINED population of less than 20,000)?  I guarantee no Yankee in history ever suggested travelling to Amory, Mississippi to take in the Arts.  Maybe they should.  They might learn something.

So what about a different show?  Maybe since the host of American Idol, Ryan Seacrest, is from Newnan, Georgia, the show is biased in favor of Southerners.  Perhaps we should consider NBC’s rival singing competition show, “The Voice,” which has completed nine seasons.  Of the nine winners, only four are from the South (two from Texas, one from Florida, and one from Kentucky).  However, I happened to notice that only TWO winners of The Voice have ever cracked the Billboard Top 40 – both of them Southerners.  Does anybody know whatever happened to the two winners of The Voice from Connecticut, the one from New York, or the one from Indiana?  Me, either.

The Southerners keep slaughtering the competition in the music shows because all the music belongs to us.  What is rock ‘n’ roll?  It’s a blend of country music (which comes from the South), rhythm & blues (which comes from the South), and Black gospel (again, the South).  The first rock ‘n’ roll star was a kid named Elvis from Tupelo, Mississippi, which is only half an hour from Amory.  The Southern singers are able to recreate that historical blend of their own authentic Southern sounds, while the non-Southern singers are only able to offer up a distant copy.  The Yankees sing from the surface, while the Southerners sing from the heart, and it’s easy to hear the difference.

What is jazz?  It’s also a blend of various Southern sounds – the blues and gospel sounds of slave descendants merged with the instrumental traditions of Creoles living in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Once again, the keyword here is “blend.”  Yankees are skilled at dividing diverse ingredients, while Southerners are skilled at making gumbo.

Yankees spare no expense to beat us over the head with lies about their abundance of culture and our lack thereof. They leap to every opportunity to eradicate Southern culture and promote their own, but when it comes to music, Yankees don’t stand a chance. It must kill them to know that practically every genre of American music comes from the South. Blues, jazz, folk, country, bluegrass, Cajun, R&B, soul, rock ‘n’ roll, funk, zydeco, sacred harp singing, ragtime, rockabilly, Southern rock, tejano, etc, etc, etc. American music IS Southern music. However, if it will make the Yankees feel better, I do have some old statues standing in my flower bed that they can come knock over.

About Tom Daniel

Tom Daniel holds a Ph.D in Music Education from Auburn University. He is a husband, father of four cats and a dog, and a college band director who lives back in the woods of Alabama with a cotton field right outside his bedroom window. His grandfather once told him he was "Scotch-Irish," and Tom has been trying to live up to those lofty Southern standards ever since. More from Tom Daniel

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