American Idol is set up as both a popularity contest and a talent contest. That’s why they start filming and “following” the contestants from the moment they sign up to audition. They have footage of the potential winner’s entire “journey”. The producers are not dumb. They know more people will watch if they begin to identify with the contestants and feel a connection to them. That’s why Phillip ended up besting Jessica Sanchez – we all felt a connection to him. I didn’t really feel anything for Jessica other than, “Wow. She has a great voice for a kid.”
This year the American people choose Phillip Phillips as their American Idol. I couldn’t vote, but if I could have I would have voted for him. Nothing against the pocket diva Jessica Sanchez – the girl has mad skills – but she was boring. Phillip Phillips has the whole package: He’s talented, cute, funny and he is an actual musician. Of course he won.
But of course some people have to start complaining that Phillip is just the latest in a long line of “White Guys With Guitars” to win Idol, hinting at the fact that it is a racist show. I say, “Bull pucky!”
Let’s look at this objectively if that is possible. America has never really liked women performers as much as men. If you look at the top records or albums of any year ever in the history of years I’m sure you’ll find more dudes in the top ten than ladies. There have been far more male Idol winners than ladies. This shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s like that in every industry, why should the music industry be any different? Jessica Sanchez didn’t lose Idol because she sucks or isn’t talented. She lost because she isn’t as accessible to as many people as Phillip is. It’s that simple.
Now, as for the fact that he is a “white guy”. Sigh. Do we really need to make everything about race? The top three finalists were pretty diverse if you ask me. We had Josh Ledet – an amazing and talented singer (who is black) and was probably eliminated only because he and Sanchez split the vote for folks who enjoy the “big voiced singers”. Having those two as the finalists would have been like the two of them competing against themselves.
And then there is Jessica Sanchez – a Filipino girl with a big voice. There is no denying that she is talented, but she is also green. She lacked the stage presence of both Phillips and Ledet and just bored the pants off of me after a while. People don’t love Beyoncé just because she is an awesome singer. They love her because she sings, dances, is hot and makes it all look totally effortless and entertaining at the same time. Sanchez has a way to go before she reaches that point.
I think we should let Phillip have his moment in the sun. He deserves it. He did the work (for 40 weeks!) and came out on top. He won because he is good, not because of the color of his skin. Let’s all try to be a little gracious and let the 21-year-old pawn shop worker have his day.