Jan 11, 2010

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.

David Cook: American Idol

May 23, 2008

It’s been about 17 hours since David Cook was announced as the American Idol. I don’t normally blog about entertainment news, but I’ve got to say, I’m really pleased he won. I’ll be the first to admit that his performances during the finals weren’t his best, but I still think he deserves to win, on the strength of the whole season. This isn’t meant as a put down of Archuleta, he’s got a great voice, but I don’t think he’s ready yet.

There are two main things that set David Cook apart from Archuleta, in my opinion. And they are things we can all learn and gain from, even if we aren’t in the entertainment business.

The first thing that David Cook has over Archuleta is stage presence. He’s got more confidence on stage, and carries himself better. Archuleta’s movements on stage still seem very awkward. David Cook, on the other hand, looks right at home on stage. He looks really comfortable there.

Secondly, and more importantly, David Cook is original. His originality set him apart from every other contestant this season. If you need proof, just check out his version of Mariah Carey’s “Always be my baby“, and compare that to the original. He heard things in songs that nobody else heard. He re-arranged songs in ways nobody else did. And to me, that’s what sealed it for him.

Two lessons that can be applied in all walks of life. Your presence – your confidence in yourself, how comfortable you are wherever you may be – makes a difference. And more importantly, originality has great value.

Picture by meagan383