Anyone else glued to Season 12 of American Idol? I've watched it for the last eight years. Actually I probably watched it before you guys because I was glued to Pop Idol in the UK back in 2001, which was the precursor to the American juggernaut.
Ryan Seacrest and the gloss of the whole production makes me think of book covers and websites. Slick and gorgeous. The judges (& Jimmy) remind me of editors and book reviewers, shaping and evaluating the end product.
The talent this season is phenomenal. I don't think I've seen such a fine array of singers/artists ever. But the whole idea of singing for votes made me think about the concept of popularity versus talent. Are these guys really being voted for because of their (incredible as it may be) singing ability? Or are people just in love with looks and charm? When Jessica almost got voted off it was obvious that success was not necessarily just tied to vocal ability.
I think this is true for writers too. Plenty of great writers languish in obscurity. Jessica is gorgeous and talented, but perhaps not to whoever it is who votes for American Idols. Maybe the people who should love Jessica don't watch American Idol? Or don't own phones? I don't know. It's a mystery. Or maybe she doesn't connect with the voters. Heck, maybe we're all jealous :)
So what does it take to be successful?
Talent, for sure. Connecting with your fan base, be it voters or readers. A huge amount of luck and serendipity and the willingness to follow your dreams no matter what.
I watch them and think, as difficult as it is to send out a manuscript to an agent or an editor, at least my humiliation (if there is to be humiliation) is more or less private. I haven't just performed on a stage in front of millions of viewers.
But this is perhaps the real key to the power of American Idol...
American Idol gives them a chance to rise above obscurity. Obscurity, not losing a contest, will kill a career, be you a writer or singer. Sure, they might mess up, some people might loath what they do, but if they can find a big enough fan-base of peeps who love them, they will have a career. Personally, I love them all and would happily adopt the lot. Can't wait to see what they do with their lives :)
Who's your favorite?