Anybody Can Be an Idol!

Because this is American Idol, we’re told by Ryan that many seasoned performers and full-time musicians come to audition. And because this is American Idol, we don’t see any of them. Instead, you can be a property manager. You can be a Special Ed teacher with a rare hormonal disorder. You may have been bullied. You might be an orphan or an immigrant. But that big bus crossing American highways is coming to find you. And someday, you, too, may be like those two pop stars, one black, one white singing together in a car in L.A. BECAUSE THIS IS AMERICA AND IN AMERICA ANYONE CAN BE AN AMERICAN IDOL!!!!

Nothing like staying on brand.

What I think I look like when I watch Idol/What I actually look like when I watch Idol

To that end, tonight I noted a number of dreamers who came with obvious talent. They also each came with their own questions. These questions also give you a sense of what I’m thinking about as they audition for me. 🙂

Crystal Alicea (bullied karaoke singer) has a cute “it” factor but as a karaoke singer, does she have her own identity? And does she have the confidence to withstand the rigors of Idol’s competition?

Effie Passero is a big-voiced, blues belter with a you’re-gonna-notice-me look and vocal style but can that look and vocal style win Idol? Season Nine’s fabulous Crystal Bowersox could not. And while Taylor Hicks and Caleb Johnson did win Idol as that type of singer, each made forgettable albums that sounded nothing like their highly energized performances on the show.

Amelia Hammer Harris has a cool, 60s/70s rock-soul vibe and a great back story about her dad, Jack Hammer who was a songwriter of note[1] and a longtime song and dance man. As with Effie (above), she could make for entertaining television but is she a classic Idol pop star?

Johnny White (the orphan) and Les Greene (the immigrant) both have raw, untamed, untrained but extraordinary soul voices, especially Johnny. I feel like he got an edit that suggests he gets coached up in Hollywood and we’ll be seeing more of him. But both of them are traditionally the type of singers that don’t succeed with Idol viewers.

Caleb Lee Hutchinson is an old, old school country singer of the Merle Haggard/Buck Owens variety in a teenager’s body. While that genre is not my cup of tea (to say the least LOL), I must say that he has a very pleasant voice. And while he’s far from pop, I do recall an old school country teenage singer named Scotty McCreery winning Idol.

The person who intrigued me the most was Johnny White. Three things about him got my immediate attention:

  1. He has an amazing voice!
  2. He badly over-sings. He had absolutely no clue what he was doing with It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.
  3. He has an amazing voice!

He was much better when Lionel had him “dial it back” and sing again. He has a natural gift. With coaching, he could learn how to use it. I’m genuinely curious to see how his journey unfolds.

See you again after tomorrow’s show. In the meantime, listen to some good music. I know I will.


[1] Earl Solomon Burroughs aka “Jack Hammer” co-wrote the Jerry Lee Lewis classic Great Balls of Fire. He also wrote an obscure song Fujiyama Mama for The Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson, a song I just learned about because of a book I’m reading on the history of pop music.

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