Lee DeWyze and More White Guys; This … Is ‘American Idol’

And with that, one of America's last great, roaring firesides has gone dim

David Cook. Kris Allen. Le DeWyze.

These are your past three “Idol” winners, America.

All demure, lilywhite males, certified safe for cougar- and tween-crush voting blocks.

Get used to it. The recent past is also the foreseeable future for a tiring franchise with an aging audience.

Milquetoast white guys? Yep. This … is “American Idol.”

Where flawed singers, whose flawed voices and flawed looks have been keeping hope alive among our garden-variety dreamers and the delusional for a decade.

Where passable guitar self-accompaniment sounds almost as good as it does at Starbucks.

Where mediocrity still gets bathed in heavenly light and hyperbolic praise.

(Carrie Underwood, a bona fide country crossover Goddess with a capital G, notwithstanding. Point to Simon Cowell, who predicted as much).

Speaking of Cowell, the man could barely keep himself awake for this year’s pageant, but a big piece of the “Idol” back-end compelled him to spew superlatives through clenched teeth when they got down to the contestants who walk away with actual recording contracts. He's no dummy.

I’ve largely sided with Simon over the years, but on Wednesday I think he missed the point about one thing.

“It’s going to be different,” Cowell said in his farewell remarks.

Not really.

It will stay on the same path, losing steam, catering to a shrinking and more homogenous audience that, for a few more years at least, will keep a clockwork pace of bland but earnest young dudes selling musical trinkets to fund the industry’s life-support machine.

This is what we’re getting from “Idol,” ladies and gentelemen, no matter who the new judge turns out to be.

Musically speaking, if milquetoast is your jam, you’re better off following Rob Thomas’s career. At least the man’s a pro with some nuance and skill.

And TV-viewing wise … have you seen what’s on cable these days? Basic- and pay-cable programming has come a very, very long way in the 9 years since “Idol” grabbed this country by the lapels.

Judging by the trend line of “Idol” ratings – and network ratings across the board – a lot of people have taken notice. (“Glee,” a bona fide transmedia juggernaut, notwithstanding. Point to Fox, which marketed its thumbs and forefingers off to make that happen).

So that’s it – the aughts are over. Culturally speaking, anyway. Tonight, one of America’s last great, roaring firesides has gone dim.

Now you’ll excuse me while I go tweet this.

Follow Josh Dickey on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joshdickey