If it’s not a popularity contest, Crystal Bowersox could have won. But, definitely, the new American Idol Lee DeWyze deserves the feat for the total package that he is: his more “cinematic” paint salesman-turned-Idol finalist story over the typical young mom story of Crystal; and his charming face for the many girls, mostly adolescents and a couple of women coming from different age brackets, who religiously follow the show.
More females open their TV sets every Idol evening, compared to males who would probably have a better eye on a female talent, that is, if they even bother to watch. Of course, these girls find the “Lee package” much more appealing than the “Crystal package.” It’s a given, Crystal Bowersox is a much better singer and she has better performances for the competition compared to Lee, but for this type of competition which rides on popularity and audience votes, it is not a surprise that Lee has that edge over Crystal.
These are the highlights of the American Idol season finale:
– Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze perform with living legend Joe Cocker
– Poison frontman Bret Michaels jams with Casey James
– Paula Abdul appears on stage in anticipation for a song number, but it’s just a personal tribute to Simon
– 7 out of 8 Idol winners from past seasons perform together (David Cook didn’t make it due to a charity event)
– Idol finalists Crystal and Lee share the stage with Chicago
– Janet Jackson owns a few minutes of the Idol stage
– Christina Aguilera shows what “real talent” is all about
– Alanis Morissette keeps her mark as a talented woman of music after a great performance with Crystal
– More guest hit makers and living legends grace the stage with the newest American Idol talents of the season (legends meet the new breed): Alice Cooper, Barry and Robin Gibb, Michael McDonald, Darryl Hall and John Oates
– Dane Cook puts into words, along with some guitar strums, Simon’s best insults in AI history as part of a too long good-bye drama for Simon Cowell (upstaging the supposedly real stars of the night, Crystal and Lee)
Just like with last year’s results, among a lot of other similar instances, this clearly lays down what show business is all about. It’s being in the right moment , the best time and situation, where the right combination of charm and appeal can make you an instant star.
While it still works two ways, those who “make” the stars and those who “embrace” the stars, the “last say” works in the same way as politics. It’s the same way as the popular high school personalities are those who appeal to most people and not those who just bring awards to the school (even if winning an international academic competition is more valuable for the school than promoting the prom queen title). It’s the same as a more charming applicant gets the job over someone who has a better resume but exuding less appeal. It’s the same as a talented Broadway performer always in a supporting role in favor of an A-list Hollywood star, even if talent-wise, the latter doesn’t really measure up.
It’s plain and simple, it’s how the system works. Some may call life as unfair with all these. But well, that’s how life indeed is. If evaluations and perceptions of how people become who they are become parts of the significant life equation, it’s not really fair. Not all were born rich. Not all were born with good genes. Some get lucky to find the right opportunities to finally make their lives shine. And in the entertainment industry, the word “deserving” is a very relative term. It’s not named “entertainment industry” for nothing: it says it all.
This popular feat for Lee, the American Idol of 2010, brings us to these serious insights about living life and being in showbiz. Charisma to the public can’t be bought really. Media people can alter the public’s perception, but when making choices among the already given roster, the chemical mix of the intangible is out of anybody’s control. It’s all about charm and appeal. It’s all about the demands of those who want to get entertained. It’s plain economics. It’s about bankability. It’s about marketability.
If majority of American Idol viewers came from music school, this reality TV show is going to be a way much different ball game. So in this case, the American Idol audience has spoken: they wanted Lee.
As for me, I am a female. Yet personally, having watched the last two days of American Idol Season 9, I’m not for Lee. I didn’t vote, though. I’m one of those who happen to have dinner in front of the TV set, enjoying the music of the Idol wannabes. However, I’m not part of the voting demographics. Now, if asked about my opinion of who should win, I’m definitely looking for somebody who has the best vocal talent because I perceive the show more as a showcase of vocal power and music skills more than anything else. And so, I would want Crystal to win. It’s all a matter of perception and preference. In terms of vocal power, versatility and overall performance throughout the season, Crystal nailed it. Lee occasionally surfaced to make his own valuable marks. And the debate in this matter goes on. Issues raised is like how some may see such a singing competition going the same route as, for instance, awarding the Oscars to an awesome dramatic performance and not an awesome comedic performance. Now, that’s where criteria come in. Being a part of the entertainment industry myself, as a worker behind-the-scene, I totally understand and accept that Lee DeWyze bags this year’s AI fame. It’s showbiz. It’s entertainment. And for American Idol, the voices of the most people who voted rule.