It has been said that the American Idol process is much more grueling than other, more traditional ways of making it in the music industry. But then again, so many of those other ways include years of singing back-up or bussing tables to make one's own demo, and even still connections and marketability often mean more than actual vocal talent.
With American Idol, marketability is also very important, but what once might have been years of performing, rejection, rehearsing, revamping an image, rinsing and repeating is condensed into a thirteen week boot camp, if you will. In honor of the show's ninth season, which is getting a facelift of it's own with new fourth judge Ellen Degeneres, "My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture" has decided to take a look at some popular music artists to see which ones could have cut it if they had "come up" with American Idol.
Britney Spears, who, as Kathy Griffin best put it, "performs" in concert using the same song order as is on her CD. "It's like she just walks on stage and presses play!" The comedienne has laughed.
Though Randy might be intrigued by her bare midriff, and Simon would undoubtedly see some dollar signs based on her "innocent southern blonde" act, Kara would inevitably get huffy and challenge her to a sing-off ala "Bikini Girl," and there is no doubt Britney would be lost without her Autotune corrector, stumble through a few simple bars, and never make it past the audition round.*
*We can't presume to know what Ellen would say since we haven't seen her in action yet.
Lady Gaga is the original Adam Lambert when it comes to stage shows, flamboyance, and wardrobe that Tim Gunn would call "too costume-y."
Assuming she started out a season in designer jeans rather than suits made of wire, she might have a decent chance of making it to the top twelve. Randy would routinely comment on her "uniqueness;" Kara would be too overwhelmed to say many negative things, in case she needs a friend later; and Simon would challenge her, in his not-so gentle way, into taking more risks. Gaga and Simon would undoubtedly butt heads from time to time, and her refusal to take his crap would win her some votes regardless of what, or how, she sang.
Drake has a fan following from his time on Degrassi, which explains how his mixtape was able to sell so well and garner him the interest of major record labels, and major superstars within the industry.
It's too bad Paula is no longer a judge, because she would fawn all over "how cute" Drake is. Kara would probably pick up a bit of that slack, though; Randy would constantly remind him he has worked with Mariah and Whitney and encourage him to sing smooth ballads not unlike they ones those women were known for in the 90s; and Simon would probably similarly encourage him to take on standards. He'd probably place in the top eight or ten.
Lil Wayne is no lyricist, but a show like American Idol doesn't ask its performers to write their own material (yet; though I smell a fantastic twist for the next season!). Unfortunately for him, though, he can't seem to decide if he truly wants to be a rapper or a rock star, and he hasn't been successful at trying to merge the two genres just yet.
All three judges would call him out for his inconsistencies. Though Kara might initially enjoy the raspy growl to his voice, even that wouldn't be able to save him, and he'd be out during Hollywood week.
Justin Bieber has caught the hearts and eyes of tween girls everywhere, and he can just as easily capture the hearts of their mothers, since he seems like such a sweet and wholesome (read: unthreatening) child. And he is quite the dancer, which would make his weekly performances fun to watch.
Randy would compare him to a young Justin Timberlake just because everyone else already is; Kara would want to take him under her wing and write more cheesy "you can do anything; just go for your dreams" singles for him to sing; but Simon would roll his eyes and call this kid out for being too much like Kevin Covais. Even with he made it to "makeover week," he'd look more like a little kid playing dress up than a true singer with soul. He'd make it to the top twelve and tour, but he'd have no shot at the title. Call me when his voice drops and maybe his chances can be revisited!
Nick Jonas also has the "cute and innocent" thing going for him, but his comparisons would undoubtedly be to David Archuleta and perhaps even Kris Allen if he was smart enough to pick up the guitar on stage.
Randy wouldn't "feel him" but wouldn't be able to deny he has something that works; Kara would salivate over the schmaltzy songs he could pull off due to his purity ring; and even Simon would have to admit the kid has a spark that will carry him far, even if he makes some less than stellar song choices along the way. Between sentimentality and actual talent, this JoBro would probably soar into the final four.
Paula Abdul herself.
Simon would just walk out of the room; Kara would bop along and pretend to be into it until the last minute when she'd slowly shake her head and feign sadness that it was, in fact, a "no." Randy might give her a pass just to shake things up, but ultimately they'll all tell her to go out for a dancing show instead, and she wouldn't be given the coveted golden ticket. The cat from the "Opposites Attract" video might get a little further...if he updated his wardrobe!