After having the following conversation with some friends after the American Idol results show tonight, I decided to turn it into a post. There are two necessary ingredients to being a winner, whether it’s the winner of a reality show, the winner of a poker game, or the winner of a game of tag. You have to have humility.
Arguably, the star of this season has been Adam Lambert. I say that knowing that everyone that reads this space and my recaps regularly knows that I’m not always Adam’s biggest fan, yet he’s undeniably the star of the season and for awhile it seemed like the finale might be a foregone conclusion, as people were already crowning him. My thing against him continues to be the same thing, that I see him being a character during his performances more than I see him … performing. He lacks a little depth in his emotions. Sure, there’s emotions there, but they aren’t necessarily his; they belong to his character he’s portraying that week.
Despite all that, Adam seems to be the most humble. When he’s not singing on the American Idol stage, he has his emotions pouring out of him. He seems genuinely nervous each week waiting for the results, and that was even before he appeared in the bottom two last week. Every time he receives a particularly good critique, he mouths out a “thank you” to the judges. When all the final ten were asked to say something nice about Matt Giraud when he was voted out, Adam said he was intimidated by Matt’s talent. Wow. Just let that sink in a little.
As a mom I have to give Adam’s mom big props here. If he wasn’t raised right, he wouldn’t be able to be that humble. Kudos. I know how tough it is, and I can only hope to have my children grow up with their heads in the right place like that.
Now to where I’m not seeing the humility this season. Like everyone else I was taken in with Danny Gokey’s story of recently losing his wife. No one should ever have to live through that pain, and it speaks of his strength that he can not only carry on, but continue on in this dream without his wife, when she was originally supposed to be on this ride with him.
However, it almost seems like he started listening to all the early hype about him. Early in the finals, Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest, and Simon Cowell went on The Tonight Show and declared they thought the winner would turn out to be Danny. Something happened after that, though. Adam began having brilliant performances, while Danny’s performances began to run into another. Again, I’ve been a fan, but the performances all started to sound like the one the week before.
When Ryan goes over his critiques to let him know if he’s in danger or not every week, Danny seems almost smug, like this is all just an exercise in futility for him, as he knows he’s safe. But tonight I saw it more than any other time. He was asked about that last note in his Dream On from the night before. He laughed about it and said watching the show back, he realized it was bad, so he just laughed about it all night. If you had a really bad note, shouldn’t you be worried you’re going to go home? Instead, he just laughed. A little humility would have been great there. It was like saying, “Yeah, I screwed up, but I know you poor saps are going to keep me here another week anyway.”
It makes me not want to see Danny in the final 2, because I can’t get behind that personality that thinks he deserves it. There’s a fine line in between that confidence that Simon wants from the Idols and the arrogance he gets mad at, such as Megan Joy saying she didn’t care about his critiques. It’s great to be confident, in fact I don’t think you can get as far as final 2 without it, but don’t act like you’re better than the others or that we should all be grateful for the chance to listen to you every week. We put you there, and without the fans, you wouldn’t have gotten from final 36 to final 3.
Photo courtesy of fox