So, I’ve been working on some song lyrics and short stories lately. None of them are quite ready to post yet. In the meantime, I will entertain you all with a subject I love a lot- American Idol. Before you non-Idol fans exit out of this, let me try and explain something to you.
I don’t love American Idol because it’s a show trying to find the next pop star. I don’t love American Idol to hear what Simon has to say, how crazy Paula is, or to discuss which contestant is the “cutest”. I love American Idol because of the way it impacts people, how each contestant has their own story that somehow relates to your own life. They are real people with a dream, proving that if you work hard and stay true to yourself, anything is possible. I love American Idol because of the joy it has brought to so many people. Most of all, I love American Idol for the friendships which I have formed because of it. Trust me, I know it sounds crazy. I used to be one of those people who wanted Clay Aiken fans put into a home, because I did not understand their insane ways (by the way, they are on a whole new level of extreme fans). The friends that I have made through this show are people who have been there for me more than you could ever imagine.
So, after 8 Seasons, there are several Idol alum that I would consider a “favorite”. You mention Anwar Robinson, I’ll fan girl because not only was he my favorite that season, but he was amazing in Rent. You throw the name Kimberly Locke into a conversation; I’ll lecture you on how amazing it was that she held her own during the Clay/Ruben phenomena. Anyways, I have narrowed my LONG list of “favorite Idol contestants” down to my top four. Considering there are over 90 finalists, I’d say this is pretty darn good.
They are in alphabetical order by first name; because that’s the only way I could think to do it :)
Chikezie Eze. I can promise you that finding Chikezie on a list of top four favorite Idols ever is a rarity. Not saying that to be rude, but it’s true…and it’s sad, and unfair. He is so under rated. Chikezie auditioned before, I remember seeing a tiny glimpse of him during Season 6, and then seeing his whole group being cut during Hollywood Round. I will never forget having dinner at Megan Sultana’s house during the Season 7 auditions when he stood in front of the judges- I kept screaming “HE’S BACK!”. Megan is not an Idol person, so she was probably ready to call the cops on me. I was ecstatic- loved his soulful voice. He had a few rough weeks on Idol, and is probably best known for his orange suit and arguing with Simon…well, if you saw his “She’s A Woman” performance…or saw him on the Idols Live! Tour, OR on tour with Melinda, Phil, and Gina, you know what an amazing performer he is- he really knows how to get the crowd going! Chikezie is one of those idol contestants that just sort of gets lost in the shuffle- too few people know how incredibly talented he REALLY is. He is extremely versitle when it comes to genres of music- some of my favorite performances of his are his take on Gavin DeGraw songs. I just really, really hope that he is able to continue doing what he loves to do- entertain and make music. He also makes this list for everything that he has done for me. I can’t express how much it means to me, but I hope by now he knows how much I appreciate it. My goal was to be able to show him that not only is he a talented artist, but he inspired me to never give up- and that I will be here supporting his career every step of the way.
Kelly Clarkson. One of the biggest accusations I receive from my friends who aren’t into Idol is that I only like the ones who I have met- WRONG. I’ve never met Kelly, and yet she is one of my favorite Idols of all time. In fact, there are really many, many people I have not met that I love. Anyways, back to Kelly. First winner of American Idol. I was a young chicken…13 years old. At thirteen, girls need someone to look up to in a positive way, someone they can model themselves after- Kelly was that person for me. Her laid back, real, friendly attitude shows through in EVERY. SINGLE. Interview that she does. She has remained so level headed and appreciative. Her voice? Seriously? Do we even have to go there? Something about it- so recognizable. It is beautiful; she can sing the heck out of any song. I love her style vocally as well as the way she has stood up for herself when times got rough. Although I don’t know Kelly personally, sometimes it scares me how much her songs relate to my life. Honestly, if you read the lyrics of the entire “My December” album, and then read my journal from that time period, the similarities are so close it’s freaky. She’s been one of my biggest writing inspirations, as well as a role model to remind me that you don’t have to prove your worth to anyone else but yourself. Kelly will continue to have success, I am very sure of that.
Mandisa. Mandisa was on Season 5 of Idol…. A season where they literally had a different contestant from every genre of music you could think of. Mandisa was known for her huge voice, horrible remarks from Simon regarding her weight, and her Christian faith. I was such a fan of hers, and was devasted at her too early elimination…which some blame on her religious beliefs. I don’t know what to blame it on, but since Idol Mandisa has had an outstanding amount of success. She’s another contestant that gets overlooked, because she has not turned into a “pop star”. She has, however, earned much well deserved recognition in the Christian/Gospel music industry. Over the past few years, Mandisa has been one of the biggest inspirations and motivations in my life. I have been blessed to be able to get to know her, I am so thankful for that. I am not sure how many of you know this story, but I’ll try and make it quick. She posted a blog in April 2008 about how she would love to discuss Christianity with people. I sent her a message, because at the time I was going through a “God Crisis”. I didn’t know what to believe or how to form a strong relationship with Him, I felt I had lost it. Months went by without an answer, didn’t think anything of it. In October of this year, I got a message from her that she had just stumbled upon my message and wanted to answer some of my questions- we have been corresponding ever since. I’ve met her twice, gotten some amazing resources from her, and received advice on everything from weight loss (she’s lost 80 pounds…her story is amazing…) to anxiety. Many things that I deal with, she has dealt with, so she helps me- and is MORE than willing to do so. Can’t believe how lucky I have been, but so blessed. She is a beautiful person, inside and out, with an amazing voice and personality.
Melinda Doolittle. I know, shocking. :)This one is so hard to even write, because Melinda is so much more than an American Idol Contestant to me…she is a friend, a role model, an inspiration.
So basically Melinda is the best (in my opinion) female vocalist to ever grace the Idol stage. Her sweet, humble personality combined with that beautiful voice made her a very loveable contestant. She was also the most consistent, never landing a spot in the bottom three (sorry, always have to add that stat in there). What made me love her so much was her obvious compassion for other people, her music career, and God. At a time in my life where everything was going wrong, she helped me to realize the importance of Dreaming Big and taking baby steps. Her music can turn everything around for me…especially hearing her sing live. If you’ve never been able to do so, I will tell you that no audio clip, youtube video, anything will ever compare to the magic that happens when you are sitting a few feet away from her. Melinda is another one who I have had the honor and privilege of getting to know. She is the kind of person who puts everyone else before herself, goes above and beyond to help someone out, and shows her compassion through charity work and her daily human interaction. Not only has she inspired me, taught me a whole new way of life, and led by example, but she has connected me with some of the most amazing friends that I will ever have- the backups. We support her music career as well as her humanitarian ideals (Malaria No More). We have become a family- caring for one another, arguing, supporting, and loving. Melinda’s heart shines through in everything that she does..whether it’s an amazing performance, an event for a new organization that she informs us about, or planning special events just to show how much she appreciates her fans- she does more than I can imagine any “celebrity” ever doing. Her debut album is absolutely amazing, really shows how talented and passionate she is. Melinda will always be my favorite Idol, for everything that she has done for me and her amazing voice.