American Idol – Self Improvement Brought to Life By Jordin Sparks
So, another season of American Idol comes to an end with the crowning of Jordin Sparks as American Idol 2007. On the night, she was a deserving winner, as well as being a beautiful person and a wonderful singer. Only the most cynical and spiteful of observers can argue that American Idol does not produce some great singers, it does; or that Jordin is not one of them, she is. We know already that the top three, as last year, will probably be superstars. So we can look forward to great things and big album sales from Melinda Doolittle and Blake Lewis, as well as Jordin.
Apart from loving music of many types, one of the reasons I enjoy American Idol is the way, when it gets down to the final 16 and the serious singing contest, you can watch as young talented people develop before your eyes. The whole process of American Idol ensures that every contestant, making the final stages in Hollywood, will get coaching and encouragement by professionals in their field; singing, performance, image, dress, movement around the stage, and every other aspect of being a star singer, everything seems to be covered, as you can observe those who are destined to succeed listen watch and learn.
Apart from that, you can observe the pressure mount each week and see how each contestant handles it. To be successful, they need to absorb and grow, just as with any other profession. But in their case, they do so under intense publicity over a four month period; the successful have to soak up more and more pressure each week. Some respond well to the pressure, while others start to fade and cannot move to the next level of performance needed to reach the top 6 and beyond. Most start from obscurity; many come from relatively poor backgrounds.
Self improvement writers can be quite snobbish, and many would dismiss a so called reality show, especially when they see the freak show element of American Idol, as being of any relevance with success or achievement. They would be wrong to do so. Each year in American Idol we see great examples of young people going through a self development process, condensed into a very short period of time.
Transformations can be outstanding, as you observe some singers improve week by week in every aspect of their performance. You also get to see how they respond to set backs, such as having to sing outside of their comfort zone, or incur the wrath of Simon Cowell's barbed tongue. Others you can see grow for a while and then suddenly fade; it is a fascinating show to observe. To me it is simply a singing or talent contest, not a reality show, which consistently reveals some amazing talents in American youth.
Jordin Sparks has been one of the best examples yet. Although I have always liked Jordin, when the contest first started she seemed far off the talent levels of the likes of Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones. However, by the time she reached the top 10 I was starting to take more notice. "Jordin's going to make the top 4, even the final", I began to tell myself.
Of all the contestants, Jordin Sparks improved the most over the period of the contest, and as we reached the top 5 she was running quite close to Melinda in some performances. I was starting to see a Melinda / Jordin final, rather than a Lakisha / Melinda final. In the end, we had a Blake / Jordin final, and it was Jordin who carried the crown.
So, why did Jordin progress so much? Why did she become the 2007 American Idol and not Blake Lewis, Lakisha Jones or Melinda Doolittle?
In the end, her bubbly personality, beauty, and youth may have helped tip the balance in her favor. But they would have meant little if she had not persevered in developing her singing talent as the contest went on. What she was able to do was take her singing ability, and work at it as hard as she could for the duration of the contest. She showed strength of character whenever there was any criticism, and she learnt from her mistakes as she went along. Off screen, I suspect she was one of the keenest contestants when it came to listening to the advice of her advisors, those who were already in the business and knew how to become a star in every respect.
Ultimately, she did just enough to become a deserving American Idol; a beautiful young woman (in all ways) who has star quality written right across her face; but her head and heart have remained exactly in the right place, all through the contest, right until the final.
No wonder her proud parents watched with awe and tears combined. Their daughter, Jordin Sparks, is a star, but a personable and modest one who we will see so much more of over the coming decades.