Is American Idol the answer?
Jeffrey Remz | May 24, 2012
I'll put it out there right off the bat - I'm not a big fan of American Idol. Nor have I been a fan of similarly-styled shows bent on creating an instant star out of such competitions. On the country side, of course, we had Nashville Star awhile back, which didn't live up to its name. Few became Nashville stars except for maybe 15 minutes (that, of course, would not include Miranda Lambert, who didn't win, and Chris Young, who did).
Phillip Phillips won this year's version of AI on Wednesday night, beating Jessica Sanchez. I know he covered Damien Rice, the Box Tops and Matchbox Twenty, none of who have anything to do with our kind of country. About the only connection as far as I know is that Phillips is from Leesburg, Ga., the same town as Luke Bryan. He, of course, pulled for his hometown boy, tweeting about Phillips.
Good luck to Phillips and all participants, but a segment on the AI aftermath on last night's "Nightline" was telling. Stardom doesn't come easy. Most of the winners of AI have had a tough time - Ruben Studdard being a prime example. Of course, Carrie Underwood has enjoyed a tremendously successful career. But many go back to their old jobs of being a hair stylist, a dream unfulfilled.
David Hernandez, a previous AI competitor, said on "Nightline" that he makes a living in music, but he inferred that the quick fix wasn't necessarily the way. I certainly could not blame anyone for entering or trying the AI route. It's a tough life out there, and musicians have to do whatever they can to make it.
Congrats to Phillips, but the real work may just be starting. There's nothing like hitting the clubs and halls, bringing your music to the people and making it real. At the end of the day, if you're not true to your craft and doing the music you want to do, chances of breaking out and sustaining a career are slim.