American Idol nailed it with the special destination they’re sending their celebrity judges and top 24 contestants this week.
Well, at least they did for country music traditionalists’ favorite celebrity judge to throw shade at… Luke Bryan.
This Sunday and Monday night, American Idol arrives at the Disney Aulani Resort and Spa on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. And there is no better place on Earth for cheesy dad icon Luke Bryan to spend a weekend.
I should know because I hauled my dadbod there last week…
The Aulani was the perfect habitat for a dad like me or Luke Bryan. Within the confines of Aulani, the dadbod is free to roam shirt and shame-free in its natural habitat: outdoors and near a body of water where day-drinking is encouraged. Tans were rare, sugary tropical drinks flowed, and spare tires lay proudly on sun-drenched deck chairs.
With a silent nod or an across-the-pool, subtle “cheers, my guy,” my fellow dads and I acknowledged and accepted each other in the brotherhood of Dads Unambiguously on Vacation, our third midday Mai Tai’s in-hand.
We embraced our newfound lack of responsibility, relaxed our inhibitions, and embodied the body-positive ritual of baring our beer bellies for all to see. The only self-conscious dad I saw was the one guy with six-pack abs (so embarrassing… who are you trying to impress, dude?). It was freeing, relaxing, and right.
Luke Bryan fell from grace in the traditional country music community with “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and with his gross, skinny jean-thrusting crotch when he was a younger man. But perhaps Luke is just now settling into the role he was meant to play all along: Dadbod Ambassador to the World.
And a Disney resort hotel in Hawaii is the perfect locale to launch Luke’s new career, one pina colada… two pina colada’s… three pina colada’s at a time.
I’ll be watching my first ever episode of American Idol this Sunday night to live vicariously through Luke Bryan, a man who is clearly comfortable in his dad skin. I expect to hear cringy dad jokes at sunset on Oahu’s west coast. I’ll hope for a scene where Luke’s trademark grin and neck beard float the lazy river, just like mine did days ago.
And I’ll cheer in my living room if Luke scarfs down a cheeseburger, fries, and a double lava flow, like I did at lunch last Monday… and Tuesday… and Wednesday….
Luke Bryan’s music might be a little Mickey Mouse in traditional country music circles. His attempts at humor might fall flat to everyone who isn’t your mom. And his hip thrusts might be a little more nauseating than usual now that he has packed on some fatherly pounds.
But doesn’t that just make him more relatable to guys like me who plunged rapidly and painfully into dad culture like a grown man rocketing down a water slide built for children?
I personally can’t wait to waste four hours Sunday and Monday watching Luke pretend to dance hula on the pool deck at Aulani and smile ear-to-ear like no one’s watching, just like I did last week.
Any dad out there who is hesitant to free his belly from under an ill-fitting tank top while the weather gets warmer should join me. Let’s celebrate our Dadbod Champion for two episodes this weekend, if only to live-tweet our feigned disgust for Mr. Ambassador while we raise a homemade double lava flow in his honor.
Oh yeah, and there’s also a two-for-one mean-tweeting opportunity for you pop country haters out there: Jimmie Allen is on the show too.