Looking into the past 11 years
By Valerie Milano
Pasadena, CA (Hollywood Today) 1/17/13
Ah, it’s “Idol” time again and the search for the next great American performer has begun. The 12th season began last night and continues next Thursday evening with the new panel of extremely talented, and numerous award-winning judges: Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and the returning Randy Jackson.
With new judge Urban, will we be seeing more of a country flavor you may wonder? Jackson addressed this question at TCA last week by reminding us “This being “American Idol” and country being a huge American art form, I think we’ve always embraced all styles of music. Carrie Underwood is probably one of our most successful Idols to date. I mean, she is truly a superstar”.
“Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe added, “In truth, we’ve always done country. We embraced it right from the beginning. Just because Simon didn’t like it or didn’t understand it…” And let’s not forget about Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina.
This could turn out to be a fabulous season. Lythgoe said, “The talent out there this year, I think we all agree and the judges will say, that the girls are pretty strong this year, stronger than the boys. You know, we’ve had a real spate of what’s been called “white boy with guitar.”
There were some early rumblings about Carey and Minaj, but apparently this is old news or untrue. The mutual admiration is pretty clear, “Nicki and I worked together very early on in her career and did a song that was from an album that I had done called “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel,” and it’s called “Up Out My Face,” ironically,” explained Ms. Carey, “and actually, it was one of my favorite videos and songs, and I did know and I did feel that she was going to go very far”.
“I even tell her all the time how much of a fan I am of her. She’s one of my favorite artists of all times, and I think she’s really shaped a generation of singers,” said Ms. Minaj of Carey. Speaking of shape, Carey came out to the dais in a bright green strapless dress looking quite rubinesque while holding onto Urbans arm for balance. Yes, she did just recently have Nick Cannon’s twins, but how could she breathe in that dress.
“American Idol” doesn’t just seek out and celebrate wonderful talent, entertain and inspire, it has also created the need for further research and study of the American people. Zimbio.com has compiled some interesting facts, (and maybe some fiction). Looking into the past 11 years, 133 finalists from our “Idol” lives have been compiled. Here is some of what defines and American idol:
Soul. Specifically the King and Queen of Soul. Six finalists auditioned with tunes from the greats Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.
Youth. The average age of the finalists is 22, but to be fair, contestants are required to be between the ages of 15 and 28 at the time of their initial audition. The youngest winner, Jordan Sparks, (Season 6) won at the age of 17 and the oldest winner was Taylor Hicks, (Season 5), was 29, meaning the average age of an American Idol winner is 19 ½, (the ½ still counts when you’re that young.)
(Also interesting fact about Hicks: Simon was the only judge who passed on the artist stating he’d never make it to the final round. Words he eventually took back.)
A majority of the finalists hail from the South, with a number more than the Midwest, Northeast and West combined. Even more shockingly, (if this was a shocking fact), is the fact that though they call America their home now, many were not even born in the U.S.
Hair it is. Although two finalists had no hair at all and one, (winner, Hicks) had gray hair, a more non-natural approach seems to bring it home. In the color spectrum from red to pink, we’ve seen five finalists.
Low/No/Under-Employment: The most common profession of finalists is student. Few are in a relationship when they arrive at their chance of a lifetime and apparently leave without updating their relationship status. Maybe that’s a testament to the commitment to becoming a star.