I'm totally with you, Thalia. I love FFX. It's always had this huge appeal to me. I never had a PS2 in high school, but my friends did, and I always wanted FFX. I'd played and loved VII to IX at that point but couldn't play X. From what I'd seen from friends, X appealed so much.
Eventually, I got it myself, and I wasn't wrong. I loved everything about it, including the characters, mostly Tidus, the music, locations and battle system (one of my faves in the series). I think anyone that regards X as the best has every reason to, because I think it's a phenomenal game. But also simply because they're entitled to that opinion.
I hate people shitting on people that never played the older games. I've made every effort to play the older ones, and the only one I haven't played yet is FFIII, and still yet to complete IV. I went from VII onwards, then attempted the NES/SNES ones. But that doesn't mean we can't have the opinion that more modern ones are better.
And I definitely agree on Tidus. He always appealed to me so much because of his attitude. I actually felt like I could relate to him for once. He seemed legit. He was a sportsman with a happy attitude. It was refreshing. I too liked his voice, and think James Arnold Taylor fit him well. I can recognise his voice so easily now too. I watched the Turtles movie a while back and instantly recognised Leonardo as him.
There's so many things I love about X, and I could easily rank that as one of my faves. If I'd started at X myself, I think I'd have no trouble saying it is.
One of the things I liked about IX was Zidane, Thalia. He's quite like Tidus in his personality, so if anything, that would appeal to you. The majority of people would say it's the best modern FF with an old school appeal, which is true. It's not like the modern worlds of VII or VIII. It's set in times where there are kings and queens ruling kingdoms with dragons and castles. You might not find Zidane and Garnet appealing, but I'll tell you who you will: Vivi. His personality is also something to be admired, and his main character status is right behind Zidane's. Not just that, but the graphics style used is one of my favourites in the series. The most beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds of the PS1 games that still show no age today, with cute chibi characters that fit in perfectly. Coupled with one of the best soundtracks in the series too. There's barely a track in FFIX that isn't awesome. I also found the story to be one of the most humorous and well-written FF games. Plus it has one of the greatest mini games ever created: Chocobo Hot and Cold!
Nearly all FF fans, old and new, will recommend FFIX to you, myself included. You say you plan to buy it, but you really do need to give it a go anyway. Try it for yourself and maybe you'll see what we mean. It might not end up being better than X for you, but it needs to be experienced.