It’s still just try-out time levels in this season’s American Idol, but it looks like we’ve already found the season’s biggest star.
General Larry Platt- let down gently by the judges’ panel for his advanced age (and depressing the hell out of us in our late twenties and early thirties who learned the cut-off age is 28 and our time for karaoke is indeed over) -made a huge impression on viewers who dug his now-viral hit “Pants on the Ground” hard.
Jimmy Fallon covered it as Neil Young. Brett Favre chanted the song after a 34-3 win against the Cowboys Sunday night. Platt won the hearts of viewers almost immediately- my nine-year-old son wandered out during his performance and refused to sleep until he learned whether Platt made it through to the competition. And all this was before anyone realized the would-be Idolhad an impressive history as a civil right activist in the South:
“We had come by bus in 1963 to a church in Savannah, Georgia to plan a march to desegregate the city,” Platt writes. “Reverend Hosea Williams and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were our leaders. That particular planned march was canceled and we were singing to raise our spirits before returning home.”
Platt worked with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Georgia, organizing sit-ins in the South.
He was beaten during the Bloody Sunday march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery.
He got his nickname, “General,” from the Rev. Hosea Williams because of his heroic efforts on behalf of the civil-rights movement.
While Platt is likely not seeing a profit from this particular venture (for shame!), you can also show your “Pants on the Ground” enthusiasm by wearing t-shirts available on the web, emblazoned with the catchy chorus. Simon predicted it all, as you may remember. Before Platt even wrapped up his performance, Idol‘s crankiest judge kicked in his two pence on the singer:
“You know, I have a horrible feeling that song could be a hit.”
If you’re interested in buying a “Pants on the Ground” shirt, you’d better act quickly. The longevity here is probably on par with “where’s the beef” apparel or snap bracelets.