What I Learned from American Idol

Season Ten of American Idol ended last night, and Scotty McCreery was crowned the winner.  I had a good time this season.  I also learned a few things as a writer. Here’s my list . . .

Dude! You are IN IT TO WIN IT!   Can’t you just hear Randy saying those words for, say, the hundredth time?  It turned into shorthand for, “You took a chance and it paid off” or “You dug deep and found something extra.  Authors are “in it to win it” too.  The best stories come from taking chances, digging deep and then writing with as much drama as we can dig up.  It’s a great phrase, but Randy did say it a lot, which leads to  . . .

Repetition isn’t good.  Did anyone else get a tad bit tired of Stephen saying, “Man, that was beautiful.”  If Randy said “in it to win it” a hundred times, Stephen said “beautiful” two hundred times. You could see it coming, too.  He’d get a dreamy look, and then we’d hear the “beautiful” word.  It was kind of strange in a way, because he could also . . .

Be original. I’ve never been an Aerosmith fan, but I can see why the band did well.  Stephen Tyler is full of surprises. I enjoyed most of them, but I could have done without the four-letter words that led to a regular visit from that little Idol logo blocking out stuff that I’d prefer not to see or hear during a family-oriented show. Speaking of family viewing, I could have done without some of the . . .

Secondary characters aka guest performances shouldn’t overwhelm the story.  Two words: Lady Gaga.  I’m feeling very old fashioned right now, but some of the dancing and costumes reminded me why I like historical romance.  And that reminds me why I’m a fan of Scotty McCreery. Scotty has  . . .

Heroic qualities that rock!  I like country music and I adore Scotty’s deep voice, but he won me over during Hollywood week when  he decided to “man up” about the mess with the kid named Jacee Badeaux, the young boy who got rudely booted out of the group Scotty was in.  Scotty is only seventeen, but he’s got character. It shows in how he tells a story when he sings. At the same time, I think all of the contestants could have used a few more . . .

 Critiques that make us shine. I missed Simon and I didn’t.  I missed his honesty but not the meanness. The new judges were fun and entertaining, but I have to wonder if the contestants might have improved more with a more meaningful direction.  For instance, take a look at how  . . .

The underdog factor pays off.  I didn’t like Haley’s voice very much, and her music didn’t appeal to me. So why did I vote for her (along with Scotty and some for Lauren) the night of the Final Three?  This girl hung in there.  She took criticism on the chin and kept taking chances.  That Led Zeppelin  song was awesome and bold!  I wasn’t a Haley fan, but I was still rooting for her to do well. Would she make it or wouldn’t she?  And that leads us to  . . .

 Hooks! I got hooked on Idol at the very end of Season Two.  I was flipping channels when I landed on the sing-off between Rueben Stoddard and Clay Aiken.  Until then, I hadn’t seen the show and had no interest.  It took all of five minutes for me to become a dedicated fan.  The next night I turned into to see who won . . . It was Rueben by a narrow margin. Since then, I’ve been a dedicated viewer.  It all comes down to one thing: I want to know what happens next, that’s how writer’s creative compelling stories.

So that’s my take on American Idol, Season 10.  Did you watch?  Who was your favorite?  What were your Idol moments?