Being an on air talent is far more difficult than it appears to be. I know this because I have been doing it for well over a decade. In the beginning, you always think it's about being the skinniest, the prettiest, the smartest, the most talented -- hopefully all at the same time. But the fact is that most people who are successful on air talents posess something much more powerful: likability.
Hands down, that is the most important factor in how well you will do whether you are a designer, a chef, a host or a singer. If people like you, they will watch you, they will buy things they don't need from you and they will root for you.
In the case of American idol, they will vote for you.
I just finished watching last night's Idol elimination episode and was shocked like everyone else after seeing clear frontrunner Jessica Sanchez voted off. But after thinking about it, I wasn't all that shocked.
I know this game and how it works. Is she the best singer this season? Without a doubt. But America is relating to the other kids more. Year after year, we hear the judges say, "It's a singing competition," and while on paper that may be true, it's not what makes people vote. People vote for who they like.
Jessica is confident, perhaps overly confident and that never fares well with America. She seems a little stand-offish and doesn't have a great backstory. Some of the others like Colton, Phillip and Skylar are just more endearing with their "kid from the small town chasing their Hollywood dream"-type personas. She's actually, in spite of a voice that could only come from God, quite boring on camera when she's not singing.
So, do I think she should've been voted off last night? Of course not. And I feel really bad for her; it must've been quite a shock and she's pretty young to deal with those kind of burdens. But the leasson here is not in the singing or the wardrobe or the song choice. The lesson is if America doesn't like you, you won't win.
Some of the best lessons in likable people on TV come from watching HSN and QVC. People that look like your next door neighbor or your kid's class mom are raking in millions because they know how to look into a camera and get you to relate to them.When it comes to tween girls, teenage boys and middle-aged moms voting for the next winner of American idol, the dynamic is precisely the same. This I know from firsthand experience.
Smile, look right into the camera and say something nice or something funny, speak from your heart just like you sing from your heart and you'll win.
Genuine hearts and big souls go much farther than big voices. It is so very American.
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