American Idol--My Take

Here's the thing, I watch American Idol. There I said it and I'm not ashamed. I know that I'm not making any earth shattering revelations here when I say one of the reasons I like it is because of how it parallels the publishing business. It's been done before. But I wanted to give my take on it, nonetheless. So What Has American Idol taught me? I believe I have become a better critiquer because of it. I have actually repeated some of the things the Idol judges say. Things like, "I'm just not feeling it." Or, "You've got to let your own voice shine." Yep, lots of parallels exist between aspiring to be an author or a singer. Writers do need to find their own unique voice but as is often pointed out of the show, not to go so far out of the box that the song (and the audience) suffers. There was a young fella on the show last night who was so afraid of being on stage, who had so little experience singing in front of an audience that it was almost painful to watch. He doesn't have a bad voice, I wouldn't call it a great voice but he has some natural ability and should keep trying. I find myself saying this very thing to new writers at conferences. So often I meet a young woman or man who wants desperately to write but he or she is so nervous she can hardly speak to me (Yeah, me, if they only knew how easy-going I am) and then the manuscript is just not ready, just not good enough—yet. Then there are the contestants who are so sure of themselves that I wince. Please, you have a gift, be thankful first, humble second, proud third. And yes, there are writers who come at the process so convinced of their own abilities that they are an immediate turn off.
But, I do think one of the most important things I've learned from AI is that honesty can sting but it is sometimes necessary, that art is a holistic experience and that the entire package matters. In writing that translates to having a good story, a good voice and strong skills—craftspersonship. It ALL equals excellence and isn’t that what we strive for. There's no shortcuts to being the best.
Now, as for AI this year? Oh boy am I disappointed so far. The top 24 started the actuall competition this week and I am not really gaga about any of them. The young women did poorly for the most part although I do like Crystal Bowersox and Michelle something or other. The boys? Nope, not so much. And I must say that I'm embarrassed and even upset by the display Kira is making toward one of the contestants, Casey James. The sexual innuendo has just gone too far. It's distracting and really not fair to this young man. Of all the young men, I like him. Leave him alone Kira and just let him sing.
As for Ellen being a judge. I'm not sure. I think I might be getting tired of her. The jokes aren't funny, and she's repeating herself. As Randy would say to one of contestants, "Step it up." You too Ellen, Step it up.
So there, finally the cat is out of the bag. I watch American Idol. And oh, I watch Survivor also. I love that show. It just cracks me up. This season I like Russell. He's smart.

1 comment:

Barbara Scott said...

Hi, my name is Barbara, and yes, I'm writing, to editing, to books, and (I'm ashamed to say it) the smell of new paper in a stationery store. It all started with my grandmother. She was a writer, and when I was a child, she would pass on her writing magazines to me. It's a genetic disease. And I am told, she was a 2nd cousin to Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain). Can it be cured? I don't think so. Sigh.