Friday, May 20, 2011

Important Idol

I admit it, I watch American Idol.

It has been a show that's captured my attention for a number of years.  The second season got me reeled me in when Clay Aiken sang "Here There and Everywhere."  I am a huge Beatles fan and that was my wedding song, it just gets me (the song, not Clay Aiken).

So for the past 10 years now (wow who would've thought, definitely not Ed McMahon) my wife and I have tuned in for the music, to see what brutally honest comment Simon might have for the haves and the have-nots, and to see what new hair style Ryan Seacrest is rocking (no man crush here).  We've even hung in there thru the Kara DioGuardi years.

Simon has been a big deal when it comes to American Idol almost more than the music and rising star who wins.  I honestly thought the show would not do well when he transitioned, (after all who is going to pick on Ryan).

Enter Stephen Tyler (a wildcard) and Jennifer Lopez (definite upgrade from Paula) and we can't forget our favorite "dawg" Randy Jackson who stuck around, to act as the three judges for season 10.

So why is Idol still a success as this past week brought in the highest number of votes at 95 million to chose who the two finalists will be?

There are two key factors to why this is the most important season and probably the most successful.

1. The judges are more encouraging than critical.

2. The contestants have a consistent coach in proven music producer Jimmy Iovine.

America may have been entertained with Simon, but never have been inspired as when Laura meet Stephen.

There may have been moments when you wished Simon was there to add his two cents, but the investment of encouragement goes a lot further than the junk change of criticism.

Especially when all too often in the moments of being critical turn into a habit of being cynical.  I think it resonates with people when someone encourages, because we have enough critics in life, whether its a boss, or a coworker, or that random person who leaves you strange comments on Facebook.

It is inspiring when you see someone considers others better than themselves. 

The addition of Jimmy Iovine illustrates that Idol is becoming more interested in seeing the contestants reach there potential, than just crank out another pop star with 15 minutes and counting.

One of my favorite quotes is from a former Notre Dame coach, Ara Parasheghian, "A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are."

Simon showed these contestants what they are, this season they have been shown what they could become.

They dynamic of coaching is one that transcends in other areas of life.

I have a number of friends who have personal coaches to help them get over the hump to reach that elusive goal weight (hmm maybe I should invest in one).  Churches are now offering life coaches as a way to disciple people into leadership and personal growth.

In the business field coaching is the hot trend with the most successful companies according to CNN, "Coaching now is part of standard leadership development training for elite executives and talented up and comers at IBM, Motorola, JP Morgan, Chase, and HP.  These companies are discreetly giving their best prospects what star athletes have long had: A trusted advisor to help reach their goals."

It may be just another season of Idol that comes and goes, but perhaps in a subtle way seeds of encouragement are being planted and principles of good coaching are being modeled for America to see every week on Wednesday and Thursday.

It may be entertaining for a time to criticize, but an encouraging word is never forgotten.


  1. I love your thoughts here. I think encouragement is great, and missing for most people. However, I think the rise in votes/viewers has to do with more country music, it's hot right now. And the new judges, people were checking it out. We won't know for sure if the mix really worked until next Feb when they start season 11.

    I loved Simon, every now and then you just need someone to tell you the cold, hard, brutal truth. And he was all of those, but it was very rare that he was wrong. Sometimes we have to stop the "atta boys" for a reality check.

  2. hey jeff thanx for reading. good stuff. I agree when some gives too many atta boys it can be annoying and makes the encouragement diluted. A good coach knows how to blend the two. I love Simon too, I do think he became a caricature of himself in the end though. You still rock though!