Delusions of Grandeur

So, the American Idol auditions are over, and now the weeding out begins. I always find that the auditions and Hollywood Week are the most interesting, because the judges are the ones making the decisions. But at least these people can sing.

This year’s public auditions were particularly hideous. This is now the fifth season, and many potential contestants have gotten voice lessons and vocal coaches to help them out. Interestingly, these are most often the people with some of the worst singing voices. It must pose a dilemma for the voice teacher – you want the job (and the money) to teach, but these are people who clearly are not cut out to sing. How do you manage to keep making money off them once the judges have told them that they are terrible?

However, some people are so self-deluded that it doesn’t matter what is said to them. They just “know” that they are “born to sing” or that they are the “total package” and nothing that is said in the audition room will convince them otherwise. The worst offenders are those who start into profanity-laced tirades about how “the show will suck this season because I’m not on it” and the like.

Even worse are the enabling parents. You would think that they would have a clue about their kid’s ability to sing. But they are a bit star-struck themselves most of the time, and are willing to put their kid out to be humiliated in front of TV cameras – so long as they appear on TV as well.

God save me from these types of bad parents. I have talked about this issue before, and I still am sticking by my guns – a bad parent is one that puts their wants and desires ahead of their child’s needs and best interests. I’ll now add to that – a bad parent is one that does not confront their child with age-appropriate truthfulness.

Obviously, you would never tell a 5-year-old singing along with Sesame Street that their singing voice is terrible, or that they are off-key, unless you want to be cruel and deliberately hurtful. No loving parent would do that. Conversely, if your 17-year-old is convinced that they are the next Whitney Houston or Celine Dion or Sting or Springsteen and is going to go and audition in front of a national television audience, and you know that they can’t sing well, you tell them the truth. No loving parent wouldn’t do that.

I think one of the fine balances of parenthood is knowing when to encourage and when to redirect a kid. If a child shows real promise in one area, like music or science or sports, then a child should be encouraged wholeheartedly to pursue those interests. On the other hand, if the kid wants to play baseball but ducks every time the ball is thrown in his or her direction, maybe it’s time to find another sport or activity.

And I won’t even get into these crazy parents who yell at coaches for not playing their kid, who they believe is God’s gift to sports. They have their own category in the world of bad parenting.

But we could all stand a dose of honesty. I really think that’s why Simon Cowell is called “rude” – because he’s speaking the truth without sugar-coating it. We don’t want that all the time in our lives, but there are points when it is necessary. And trying to sing on national TV is one of them. Perhaps if some of these parents had been more truthful with their kids, Simon wouldn’t have to be the one to bring them down a notch.

It does make interesting reality TV, though.

Comments are closed.