Many thanks, Bo Bice

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Thanks, Bo.

Thanks for showing America how to rock.

Thanks for coming out of relative anonymity in the early rounds of American Idol to quickly become a favorite.

Thanks for the past three months, when we tuned our televisions every Tuesday to watch you perform.

Thanks for being the antithesis to the Elton Johns and Barry Manilows of the world.

Thanks for proving Skynyrd and indoor shades are still cool.

Thanks for wearing $6 shades from a discount store, rather than $150 Oakleys.

Thanks for the long hair (even though you make some of us guys with receding hairlines jealous.)

Thanks for clutching the microphone stand like most of us clutch Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

Thanks for leading the applauses for Carrie after she was named American Idol.

Thanks for taking criticism coolly, even when Simon says you look like his old chemistry teacher.

Thanks for handling the &uot;Smoking Gun&uot; article with class.

Thanks for showing a rocker doesn’t have to be vulgar.

Thanks for showing us a rocker can be a Christian and not compromise his faith, or his style.

Thanks for your pastor Donny Acton of New Hope Presbyterian in Indian Springs. He’s also shown some of us that we don’t have to be stuffy and &uot;religious&uot; to be a Christian.

Thanks for singing &uot;Vehicle&uot; twice, &uot;Free Bird&uot;, &uot;For the Love of Money&uot; and other tunes like no other Idol (even Constantine) could.

Thanks for giving us a reason to watch the show, despite Ryan Seacrest.

Thanks for becoming the first rocker and second Alabamian to make it to the American Idol finals.

Thanks for putting Alabama, Shelby County and Helena on the map.

Thanks for allowing us to become enamored with stupid &uot;Bo&uot; puns.

Thanks for helping us learn how to mash &uot;redial&uot; on our phones when we voted for you multiple times.

Thanks for becoming Shelby County’s most famous celebrity since Miss America Deidre Downs and Olympic gold medallist Vonetta Flowers.

Thanks for bringing Lynyrd Skynyrd to the Old Town Amphitheater in Helena last month, when you returned home for a one-day media frenzy.

Thanks for signing hundreds of autographs during that trip.

Thanks for allowing us to meet one of your best friends, your mom Nancy Downes, and your seamstress/biggest fan, grandmother, Madge Schofield.

Thanks for making a lightly publicized Christian album last year. (For the record, yours truly picked it up last fall at Dothan’s National Peanut Festival, even though I had never heard of Bo Bice. In fact, I didn’t realize I had a Bo Bice CD until last week.)

Thanks for allowing us to meet Bob Ice, a Portland realtor who has a great attitude about his namesake.

Thanks for giving us something to talk about during the winter and spring, when college football season is still several months away.

Thanks for letting America know a struggling musician can still make it big.

Thanks for this amazing journey that you’ve been on. We’re convinced the 15 minutes of fame you’ve received will last for decades.

In a small way, we’ve been a part of this American Idol journey – cheering you along the way. You’ve made us proud.

Thank you, Bo