Let me spare you those highlighted underlined URLs and just give you a pervading sentiment in these blogs I read. People are shocked about the choices that the text votes seem to have produced. After five (or is it now six? — I have lost count) seasons of American Idol, there are a few lessons to be learned from this popular choice selection employed through the technology of SMS. Hold on to your seats because you will get more shocked as the days go.
I am no social scientist but I have my own experience with polling. I am not speaking wearing that hat, though. I’m just a viewer, and just wanted to share with you the insights I have had on American Idol. I don’t want to bore you with a long-winded discussion so let me be brief:
1. The audience listens to the judges, no matter how much they boo Simon Cowell. No matter how abrasive Cowell may seem, he knows what he is talking about. And believe it or not, the ones he trashes usually get the boot. So is Ryan Cayabyab the Simon Cowell in that panel of judges? One thing I know, he’s the one who knows the most about music between Mamita, Kiko and himself.
2. This is a popularity contest, not a talent contest. If we go behind the rationale of the competition, you are talking about the Philippine IDOL. It’s not about the best Philippine singer. It’s about the person who can embody what the Philippine Idol is. Everyone, and I mean everyone — even those who didn’t make it to the top 12 after the initial screening were very talented. To have survived the screening process speaks of their potential and their ability to sing. But singing is not all that makes a star. It takes packaging, appeal, and the so-called “IT” factor. (Or as the models go, the “X” factor.)
3. It’s not about who has the most money, it about who has the best appeal to get enough people to vote. And the deciding factor here is not how many people you know, but how many you can move among the viewing public to actually text or dial their votes in your name. My text votes here cost 10cents per vote but I do vote when I like a particular contender, but no more than 2 or 3 texts, and never for more than 6 of the pool of 10 or 12. And think about everyone else who just watches but DO NOT vote.
4. The winning IDOL is NOT always the best singer. Fantasia Barrino over La Toya London… Taylor Hicks over Chris Daughtry… Carrie Underwood over Constantin Maroulis… Does this tell you something? All top contenders are great singers in their own right, but there is something at play here. It’s not just singing which is being judged — it’s one’s star quality. And even after all the hoopla about surviving all the votes, you have to consider, not all IDOL winners became really big stars. Except for Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken (no. 2 during his batch), the idol winners are more known for being winners, and not for being best selling recording artists. They have a career, thanks to the IDOL machinery that ties them down to a contract once they make it to the magic 12 — but people think they would all be their own version of Kelly Clarkson by now.
5. In the end, it is who appeals to the public the most who will win. I am not trying to put April Boy Regino down but if you were to pit his record sales with say, Lani Misalucha, April Boy wins. And yet we all know who the better singer is. Yet you have to hand it to April Boy who has mass appeal, what with his knack for writing songs that hits the public by the heartstrings, and singing it in a plaintive and endearing manner. And it will be April Boy’s fans who will take the time and effort to text or make that call, and Lani’s will just sit idly by secure in the thought that their idol is the best.
I was texting my brother Nikki earlier asking him about Philippine Idol. He told me he missed me but he doesn’t watch the show. I told him to vote for Jan Kurt Nieto and he promised he will. End of story.