This evening, American Idol will crown yet another winner. Maybe it will be Kree Harrison. Maybe it will be Candice Glover. To be perfectly honest, I’m not really sure which woman will win, but in a way, it really doesn’t matter. Whoever the general public ultimately chooses will be the wrong answer because this season’s single greatest chance at superstardom was sent packing last week in the form of Angie Miller.
From Taylor Hicks beating Katharine McPhee and Chris Daughtry to Kris Allen beating Adam Lambert to Ruben Studdard beating Clay Aiken, the history of American Idol is filled with not only bad choices but choices that were overtly wrong at the time. Why does it happen? Well, it all boils down to the same argument judges on the show have been having since the first season. Are we here to pick the contestant that’s the best singer, or are we here to pick the most viable candidate who could actually make it in the music industry?
Randy Jackson would tell you we’re here to pick the best singer because it’s a “singing competition”, but that’s faulty logic. Actual singing ability is only a facet of success in the recording industry. Stars also need the right image, the right sound and the right stage presence, which is why Hicks being picked over people like McPhee and Daughtry is so laughable. I’ll be the first to admit he’s a better singer and a flat-out great dude, but his chances of crossing over and finding success outside of a niche fanbase were always remote.
If all goes according to plan, I think Kree can carve out a nice niche for herself in the world of country music. I also think Candice could even have a few hits with the right type of song, but this season, there was only one person with a likely chance of forging a career along the lines of Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. There was only one woman with a chance of actually being played for decades on Top 40 radio stations, and her name was Angie Miller.
Shows like The Voice and X Factor might be gaining or even surpassing Idol in popularity, but they still haven’t passed the show in credibility. Why? Because Idol is still the only singing competition show that has produced industry artists that actually matter. At the end of the day, that’s the AI legacy that stands out, and when voters at home ignore that to vote for their favorite “singer”, regardless of whether they sound like a musician from this decade or not, it ultimately harms the competition as a whole.
My sincerest congratulations go out to Kree and Candice for making the finals. I wish them very long and successful careers, but tonight should have been Angie’s launching pad into her new life as a successful and current musician.