Feature Article

American Idol: Picking a Winner

By Jon Minners


American Idol: Itís the show that has made reality television what it is today and yet no one can duplicate its success.  Even Survivor, despite how popular and exciting it is to watch today, is not as relevant as American Idol has been for the last six seasons.

No reality show winner has ever won a Grammy or Emmy or Academy Award unless, of course, you are of the world that is American Idol.  Yes, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest are stars, but the talent that comes before them on the stage each week start out as nothing and become pop icons. 

The biggest success story is Kelly Clarkson, a Grammy Award winner who has transcended the reality show to the point where she doesnít even acknowledge it anymore.  She would be nothing without it. 

Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken have fallen off a bit, but Fantasia is still on regular rotation on MTV Claire Underwood is racking up awards, including a recent Grammy nod. 

And even supposed AI losers are doing big things.  Jennifer Hudson was told she couldnít be anyone and she turned out to be the greatest someone, winning a Golden Globe Award for her work in Dreamgirls.  She will more than likely win an Academy Award.

Chris Daughtry should have won last year, but it is okÖheís doing great on his own with a #1 Billboard track while I donít think I have heard anything from the actual winnerÖwhatís his name?

So, what happens this year?  The following is strictly an opinion:

Well, I am glad Paul Kim is gone.  I wanted him off the minute I saw him sing barefoot.  Not cool.  Sanjaya Malakar is not going to make it.  He reminds me of Michael Jackson for some reason, but not in the same way that made the King of Pop so great back in the day.  Phil Stacey is a great singer, but he doesnít have the look to keep fans on his side. 

I like Stephanie Edwards, but there is nothing that will make me remember her.  Nick Pedro will fail when people grow tired of the same type of style every week.  He canít belt it out.  He is too soft.  I also like Blake Lewis and I think he has what it takes to be a star, but he will not win.  And A.J. Tabaldo is great, but I think he will not remain strong throughout the competition. 

Two dark horses to look out for are Chris Richardson and Jordan Sparks.  Richardson could be a fan choice just because girls will like him, but this kid has a pop sound.  He will be compared to Justin Timberlake as the sow progresses and that could either hurt him or help him.  Time will tell.  At the same time, Jordan Sparks can blow.  She has a powerful voice and Randy said it all; there is no song too big for her.  She could slip in under the radar while less talented acts fall off and this will allow her time to grow as a performer.  She could use that time wisely.  Watch her. 

The four top picks are Lakisha Jones, who could get dropped when she tries to belt out a tune during ABBA week.  Does she have what it takes to sing all types of songs?  Time will tell. I donít think she wins. 

Chris Sligh is a top pick.  He is not the greatest singer, but he is a great singer with a whole lot of charisma.  He also reminds me of Hurley from Lost and that is a popular character.  I think his modesty and his personality will take him far in the competition.  His recent spat with Simon Cowell makes him someone fans will like to have around. 

But the winner will be either Melinda Doolittle or Sabrina Sloan.  Doolittle is the person fans will most connect with.  She can sing, but her modesty will take her far.  People will remember how shy she was when she first started and feel like they have grown with her on this journey.  Doolittle will do a lot.  Sloan is the next Christina Aguilera and to me, that makes her one of the best singers to ever grace the stage.  She will definitely be a force to be reckoned with. 

But that is just my opinion.  What do you think?  We'd like to know. 


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