Wednesday, January 16, 2008

American Idol and How to Present Yourself

I admit to being a fan of the one and only American Idol--but it's probably not for the reasons you think. In my opinion, anyone looking to go into a job interview, or make a presentation, or even send out stories would do well to watch the show and figure out what *NOT* to do.

For example:

The next-to-last girl who auditioned in Philidelphia (we shall know her henceforth as Princess know who I'm talking about) is my prime example for this, because she makes my point for me.

Throughout the audition process she emphasizes that she is 'different' and a 'goofball' and how the show 'needs a change'. Well, first off, she's imitating someone and not being unique at all--Carrie Fisher she ain't. So, there's no actual change being initiated by her anyway...just weirdness.

Secondly, her big beef is that the "Idols" that went on through with golden tickets were 'all alike' and if she'd used make-up, etc., then she would, of course, have gone on. Here is where she makes my point for me: professionalism is KEY. Even in a whacked-out audition situation like Idol. Yes, the girls who wore make up made it through--they were well-groomed and presented themselves seriously. Princess Leia kept repeating that the judges need to 'get past appearances'...but here's the trick, honey, they don't. It's your job as an artist, as a professional, to give them no excuse to say no.

That's true for being a writer as well. Tonight I've been working very hard on putting together submission packets--letter writing, etc. I've gone through a ton of paper looking for typos, looking for goofiness that could distract the very busy editors (read: Simon, Paula, Randy) and give them the reason they need to pass on my stuff. Here's another clue: I won't be printing the stories and/or letters out on purple paper with Star Wars logo.

Keep watching the show...take notes...we might make fun of the "Idols" (how's it goin', Sanjaya?) but quite a few have the talent and the ability to present that talent. That doesn't make them cookie-cutters. That's the difference between fifteen minutes of fame and fifty years of it.


  1. Yes, yes, yes. Though, I have to confess that last night I was watching Comanche Moon, not American Idol :)

  2. Good arguments, Jenny, but I still won't be watching American Idol.

  3. Ah, DB, you don't know what you're missing. It's like "What Not to Wear"...only without the ability to hand the contestants $5,000 and say "Save thyself!"

  4. This brings to mind a de-motivational poster showing a fork with a bent handle and curled tines that sits in a drawer with unbent and uncurled forks. "Just because you are unique doesn't mean you are useful."

  5. I like Simon's out there honesty, but they need a Tim Gunn. "I don't HATE it." Love that guy.

    Of course, Project Runway could use a Crazy Paula sometimes.


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