13 May 2006

The Template

On one hand, I've got to say that it was better Chris Daughtry got voted off American Idol unexpectedly. One has to realize by now that Chris, the rockista dude, had he won....he would have to be molded into someone producers want to market into Pop (Oh, okay Pop-Rock). And that usually meant artists like him will have to compromise their type of music to fit into an Idol producer's template. More than that, Chris would have to tie himself down to a contract, which would somehow inhibit his growth as an artist.

So, I've got to believe that Chris was better off voted prematurely from the competition.

On the other hand, winning the title American Idol, gets one the "bragging rights". As one ex-idol judge once said --- some of these kids will leave Idol with possibly a recording contract or a music career tucked under their sleeves. Some may get luckier than others and win sweeter deals or get to stay in the business longer. But it is a fact: these kids will get all sorts of deals at some point in their music careers, otherwise not available, had they not been exposed to the competition. If you look at it this way, there really isn't any losing proposition; even when one gets to leave the competition earlier.

Yet, why is winning the "title" the ultimate goal? That ex-idol judge said it was simple --- it's a jumpstart, a fast track to one's career. A jumpstart, in this business...as every Tom, Dick, Harry, Kelly, Rueben, Fantasia and Carrie know --- does not come very often. Yes, an idol winner gets to jumpstart his/her career. A week after being voted the American Idol, the winner's single is released and sold to the public. Instant ROI.

Fortunately for Chris, he may soon get the break he needs, faster than you can say: "Mark Burnett's Rockstar!" Rumor has it that the band Fuel is interested in getting him as its lead singer. It may not be long before we see Chris with the band on MTV Awards or somewhere else. Besides, Chris the artist/rocker does seem to belong in a band than as a solo artist, right?

As for the fate of the other three --- Taylor, Elliot, Katharine, I would like to think that Elliot deserves the American Idol title more than anyone else. Among the contestants, Elliot's the one I saw improve before my eyes. The last few weeks, the once petrified-looking Elliot emerged with confidence, sang better and performed better. If I were the lone judge of this contest, I would have to say he would have already won this just by overcoming everything he once was. He may need a bit more work (say, compared to Katharine), but if I'm voting just for sheer determination and improvement, Elliot deserves it best.

But as things have it, I'm not the lone judge (I can't even vote!) and the closer this season comes to a close, the more I'm inclined to think that Katharine will emerge as the winner. Why her? Because she fits the mold. While she's not any better than Elliot and Taylor, Katharine is the template the producers have been pimping on our TV sets, whether we are aware of it or not. (May I be mistaken in what I've just written down. I still would like Elliot to win it no matter what).

As for Taylor....his is the same situation as Chris. Step into Taylor's shoes and think for a minute --- would you like to be boxed into the Idol template, or would you like to make your own music? As the force fueling Soul Patrol....what good is your "soul" if you've been compromised to follow the mold? Besides, Taylor need not have the Idol title to fast track his career. His career was already set in motion the minute he got on board Top 24. He's already won, I would like to believe so.

In two weeks, American Idol would have crowned their 5th winner. And there's no way of telling how this shall make or break someone else's career because the last four idols that came before Winner #5 (with the exception of Kelly, I should correct that) still have to prove something in the music biz, actually.

Sometimes, jumpstarts end up pretty raw and premature, too.