Tuesday, February 6, 2007
A great post I wanted to share on my blog written by TERRY MORROW.

“American Idol” is now facing the ghost of Jennifer Hudson.

The powerful singer from Chicago wasn’t good enough to win “Idol” in 2004. She was sixth runner-up. But she’s since gone on to higher acclaim in 2007: a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination for “Dreamgirls.”

So what exactly does that say about the validity of “Idol” as a talent contest?

“I don’t think it dilutes (‘American Idol’) at all,” host Ryan Seacrest said. “I think it opens it up even more. I think it shows how someone can become a household name.

“She became a household name on the show. Once you become a household name on this show, you can become a star. She has talent. She has hustle. And she got the right (roles).”

But Seacrest says it’s up to the voting public to ultimately decide who wins “Idol.” So, regardless of whether a singer has the chops, he or she must go beyond to win “Idol” (which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox).

Being a good singer, even a superb one, simply isn’t enough. Other “Idol” contestants have become legitimate stars – first-season winner Kelly Clarkson has earned Grammys and Carrie Underwood’s debut CD has sold more than 5 million copies.

But no runner-up has gone as far as Academy Award consideration and Golden Globe love. And in the eyes of some, that makes “Idol” more of a popularity contestant than a “singing competition” – as judge Randy Jackson described it recently to an angry New York City audition reject.

As for Hudson’s own demise from the show – she was vying against Fantasia Barrino, who won – Seacrest places the responsibility on the American public.

“They obviously didn’t think she should win,” he said of Hudson’s exit. “But the casting directors obviously thought she deserved that (‘Dreamgirls’) part.”

Even more telling, though, is the fact 2004’s second-place winner, Diane DeGarmo, who got her start in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., isn’t doing the same high-profile roles Hudson has.

As for Seacrest’s opinion, he says he isn’t sure if Hudson’s losing of “Idol” was unjust in hindsight.

“I think it’s incredible that she turned it around and has such an incredible career,” he said. “She’s up for an Oscar, not a Grammy, and we haven’t had (an Academy Award winner) yet.”


posted by Daryl W.T. Lau at 03:15 |