Lately, on TV (yes, I still watch TV, I’m old fashioned that way), there have been a lot of ads for the new season of American Idol. And it got me thinking.

Think through the past winners. I admit, I didn’t follow the show too much in its earlier seasons, only starting watching it proper towards the end of Season 6. But since then, the winners have been Jordin Sparks, David Cook and Kris Allen, with Blake Lewis, David Archuleta and Adam Lambert as the runner ups. What about the likes of Nick Mitchel aka Norman Gentle? Or Katrina Darrell, the bikini girl? Nowhere near the top.

What’s my point in this? Every year we see loads of people trying out various gimmicks in an attempt to “stand out” and make an impact on the judges. But invariably, the ones who really go on to win the competition have not been these people. The winners have been the ones who have focused on their singing, just went in, did what they do, with no extra fuss. They let their ability speak for itself, and didn’t require the extra gimmicks to make an impact.

There are always going to be gimmicks available, that seem to promise an instant impact. But gimmicks can only get you so far. If you’re really good at what you do, you will be noticed, even without the gimmicks. If you aren’t good enough, then no amount of gimmicks in the world can help you.