Idol Tainted?

Yes, by greedy singers who won’t take no for an answer. I was reading an article on Yahoo! about how some people feel that American Idol should not let contestant, Joanna Pacitti be in the competition because she has already attempted a career as a pop star and failed. My opinion: I agree! Ms. Pacitti, you had your chance. You don’t need a way into the business if you’ve pretty much already been shut out. I thought American Idol was supposed to be looking for undiscovered talent. If she’s already been out there, then, much like a piece of damaged luggage left at the baggage claim in the airport, she’s been discovered and left unclaimed due to poor condition.

This sounds cruel, but really, the point of this show is not to bolster anyone’s failing career (you know, there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I won’t go there), it’s to help an unknown create a career in music. There have been others who shouldn’t have been given the chance to compete. The most recent was Carly Smithson from season 7. She had previously been signed by MCA and her record flopped miserably. This doesn’t mean she was not a good singer or that she has no worth as a person, it just means that the general public was not into her style and did not want to buy the product she had put out there. She tried, and she failed. There have been others who were previously signed by record companies, but somehow the stories about these contestants were kept very quiet. I won’t go into detail, but I do remember wondering why they were being included when they had already had their big chance. I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…” however; once the goal (getting the record deal) has actually been met, you must allow others the same opportunity that you have already had.

I can’t understand why competitions such as this one get so far away from their original premise. Someone over there believes that the same formula can’t possibly work for more than one season and that we constantly have to “improve” or otherwise distort the original purpose of the contest to keep viewers engaged. I get the sense from the people I talk to that most people don’t even really like American Idol, but they can’t not watch the show. We are stuck in this endless loop of watching to see how off course the show can possibly go. We aren’t necessarily being entertained; we’re being sucked into a black hole where the talentless go to steal their fifteen minutes of fame. Whether we want to have heard these people or not, they are being forced upon us. I say that if you’ve had a record deal that didn’t go well then you need to go back to the drawing board and work a little harder at your craft before trying to win a spot in the world of entertainment. If you are talented enough, you’ll get another deal and maybe this time, it will go somewhere. If not, well…the person needs to take some time to think about whether or not they really have what it takes to be a singer.

Allowing contestants who’ve already “won” a record deal to compete in Idol is like letting James Patterson (if he ever wrote a book that flopped, which isn’t likely) enter a Writer’s Digest novel contest to break back into the writing business. But, you see, we don’t do this in writing as far as I know. If you flop, well, you keep on working until you get it right or you disappear. You don’t get to keep entering contests once you’ve gotten the initial go ahead. With the exception of the self-published, published authors are usually not permitted to enter novel writing contests because they do not need to win what is being offered. They’ve already won it on their own. So, I might buy that an amateur singer who has their own record label would be allowed into the Idol competition, but that’s really as far as I would go.

I don’t want to give the impression that contest winners are not as deserving of a career as those who have been able to get their own music or writing deals. That’s not what I mean at all. Hell, I’d love to win a publishing contract. What I’m saying is that it’s called a “Big Break” for a reason. If you continue to have “Big Breaks” and you do nothing with them, well or they just fizzle out, then those “Big Breaks” aren’t quite so big anymore. All you are doing is preventing someone who might be more talented than yourself from getting out there and taking their shot. Don’t be greedy. There’s obviously room for more than one celebrity out there. If you didn’t make it with your “Big Break”, acknowledge it and move on.

Until next time…

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