by Donna MacMeans
I don't watch a lot of television, but I do like the early shows of American Idol. Thanks to the snow and ice that canceled my aerobic class last night, I was able to see the first reduction of the show's final twenty-four contestants. Did you watch it?
I identify with this show. Not that I can sing. (Okay so the photo is a fish - but that's the general reaction to my singing.) But for many years, I was an older version of those young hopefuls, chasing the dream of seeing my work in print. I'd enter a contest, wait and wait to learn that I was a finalist, and then hope and pray that my writing was good enough to win. Often it wasn't and someone else won the honor.
However, nothing ever happened to me like what happened Thursday night. Here's the deal:
The contestants, all young and all talented, performed a solo over two nights of shows. Some of the performances were absolutely amazing. Some were lackluster. After the performances, fans were invited to vote via telephone for their favorites and based on the tabulation, two men and two women were dismissed from the show.
Now we know all this from the get-go. Much like the writing contests, the finalists will slowly be weeded down to an ultimate winner. Honestly, this doesn't bother me as the contestants know a lot is riding on their performance and this contest gives them a shot they wouldn't ordinarily receive.
However, Thursday night, the moderator turned to judge Simon Cowell and asked if he had any advice for one of the departing male contestants. Cowell's advice: "go get a job and make music your hobby because you'll never make it in this industry."
OUCH! I think everyone was in shock for a few minutes.
Now I must admit the music industry is a hard road to fame. I think only one or two of the past winners of American Idol went on to release hits. This kid's one performance was lackluster compared to the others - not bad - just not as good.
So did he deserve to have his dreams trounced upon in such a public forum? Was Simon doing him a favor and sparing him future heartache? Could Simon's criticism actually spur the young singer to try harder and smarter? Has anyone ever trounced on your dreams either accidentally or in the vein of "doing you a favor"? How did you react?
I'll pick someone from the posted comments to receive a copy of The Education of Mrs. Brimley and - as Mardi Gras as recently passed - a sequined Mardi Gras bandit mask.
Don't forget our own Trish is embroiled in an American Idol like contest of her own. The American Title contest is down to two finalists and Trish is one of them. Anyone can vote for a winner and it won't even cost you a phone call. Click on the Vote Trish button in the scroll and help her reach the limelight.