First of all, let’s just get this out on the table – my favorite ‘American Idol’ singers are Taylor Hicks (the gray-haired, blues-singing guy) and Paris Bennett, the very incredible 17-year-old African-American singer from Georgia.
Now … let’s analyze why I like them.
I’m a newbie to American Idol – it’s something my kids have gotten me into, but boy … a LOT can be learned here about the creative process and the art of passing muster. Not only are you dealing with Simon Cowell’s scowling countenance all the time … only those who are self-possessed, fairly real and really relaxed seem to make it into the final rounds.
These are the people who ‘have it going on’ – they know their job, they know they’re good, and they’re not waiting for the judges to validate them. Best of all, they’re having fun. And that all springs from passion for your craft.
I love these two singers because they’re genuinely passionate about what they do. When Taylor Hicks came in to see the judges to find out if he made it onto the show, he was playing his harmonica. Just for love of being there, and taking the long stroll down to their table, he played the blues all the way. This guy is full of joy whether he makes it to the final round or not … and he’s certainly not going to stop, regardless of whether he wins. Frankly, if I was an A&R person with a major label, I’d already be talking to this guy about signing. He’s just got that unique, amazing … something. (I love that he says on his page that he’ll go back to being a ‘broke performer’ after the AI whirl ends.)
Same for the fabulous Paris Bennett. This girl is just 100% about delivering her gift. Her ritual (according to the American Idol site) is to ‘Pray and ask God to be my words and let Him use me!’. How cool is that? Paris is connected to the music, down to the core of her soul, and it makes us love her.
I’m not forgetting what she did when she passed her original AI audition and got the ‘golden ticket’ to spend the week auditioning in Hollywood (essentially round 2 of the process.) She dropped to her knees in the doorway as she exited, and just began to sob with joy. She’s feeling it … and so can we.
If you haven’t ever checked American Idol out, do … it’s a great lesson in life as a working artist. Who’s your favorite contestant?