So what do the following names have in common?
If you're an American Idol fan then you know that they are, in order, the winners of the past 6 American Idol contests. And as a result of winning, have seen their respective music careers rocketed to new heights. Last week kicked off the seventh season of the very popular series. And in addition to putting a few pennies in the bank for the winners, Idol has been a veritable gold mine for the Fox network. If there's any doubt about Fox's winnings, the next time you watch the show take note of how many, how often, and how long the commercials are and then factor in the revenue for each. Other benefactors of the show are the several other popular finalists that have been able to parlay their time on the show into some notable fame and dollars as well. Think: Chris Daughtry, Elliot Yamin, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, and Bo Bice to name a few.
So as I tuned in this past week, I shamelessly took note at how many seasons I've suffered through- (Don't get me wrong, there have been many enjoyable and entertaining moments) If I make it through this season, It will mark my fourth full season of Idol. And along with that note, I reflected on some brutal irony of the show:
- Sanjaya Molakar, after displaying very little talent, threatens the credibility of the show when he makes it into the final 24 based entirely on his looks and appeal to a very large population of teen aged girls.
- Elliot Yamin, after displaying truck loads of talent, doesn't win because some say he needed dental work. (He's taken care of that now and looks great)
- Jennifer Hudson, after not winning on Idol, goes on to win countless awards including - A Golden Globe and an Oscar, for her performance in the movie Dream Girls.
- Taylor Hicks, a season winner who captivated audiences and warmed hearts with his soulful R&B sound, has just been dropped by his record label (J Records) a fate that fell upon another winner Ruben Studdard.
I also remembered how I started this journey. My introduction to Idol started with a laughing hysterical telephone call from one of my cousins. When she was able to control herself enough to talk, she asked if I was watching American Idol. Of course I wasn't but I turned it on at her request and the journey began. My adventure included the following dialog and audition:
"Not only can you not sing one note in tune but you have one of the weirdest voices I've ever heard in my life"
"Well, weirdness is originality too!"
Over the years I've wondered what possesses some people to audition for a show that they have absolutely no chance at winning. Is it resolute faith? Fanatical encouragement from friends and family? Delusional interpretation of reality? Or is it all just an act to entertain the viewing public and secure their 15 minutes of fame? I've also had my doubts about the tipsy trio - Randy, Paula, and Simon. What's in those Coca Cola cups? Are they just role playing for our benefit? Or is everything so perfect in Paula's world, moderate in Randy's world, and condescending, egotistical, and arrogant in Simon's palace? Who knows? But in this "Brave New World" of reality shows I find it increasingly more difficult to distinguish reality from fantasy.
I'll leave you with some more funny auditions,
Enjoy the Season!