Tiwan Strong Odds to Win American Idol

Can the Christian and Soul Singer Win AI?

Tiwan Strong is a singer from Racine, Wisconsin. He sings a capella, Christian and soul. According to JoesPlacBlog, Tiwan has made the Top 40 for the 10th season of American Idol. The producers and judges pick a Top 20 voting round (the semifinals), so he has only round left to the get to that semifinal round. At this point, it is somewhat difficult to assess Strong's chances on Idol. His MySpace music is Christian, but the show focuses on mainstream music. He is definitely a skilled singer and, depending on his personality, could make a run on Idol. However, recent history suggests that he will have a tough time winning American Idol.

Idol seems to be poor at casting certain types of contestants. The casting of black men has been particularly troublesome on Idol. This is probably not a racial thing, as the casting of females has also been poor at times. Only guys in general seem to be cast well on Idol, at least in the past few years. Tiwan Strong seems to be an example of the type of singer that gets cast for talent but just doesn't have much of an audience on Idol.

Those who do well on American Idol don't necessarily have the same traits or styles as singers in the business who succeed. Christian, opera, punk rock and hard-rock singers certainly don't seem to be welcome, for example. And it's been clear for several seasons that black males who are or are at least portrayed as RnB singers don't fare well on this show. Yet, Idol just keeps on casting them while never giving a hard rocker or an opera singer a chance (even one who is willing to attempt other genres). There are loads of pretty blatant, pathetic biases on this show.

The simple truth is, if you are a modern RnB singer, the chances of winning Idol are slim to none. It does not fit the demographic and probably never will. By objective observers, it is clear that Todrick Hall, for example, is an excellent singer and songwriter. And even he couldn't muster a finalist spot for Season 9.

So the first thing Tiwan Strong needs to avoid is getting cast as an RnB singer. I see the potential to avoid that if he wants to and the show lets him. After all, Tiwan doesn't really seem to be a modern-style singer. He seems to be more of an old-school soul man. Although some voters would moan that he is old fashioned, the truth is old fashioned is going to work better on the show than modern when you are a black man. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Perhaps the show is finally going to wise up and let people be what they are good at being. If the producers give Tiwan Strong the green light to do what he is good at (I suspect but don't know for sure that he could excel at older soul songs), he stands a much better chance than being cast as one of a long line of helpless modern RnB singers. That casting spot is a death sentence on American Idol. Tiwan should avoid dancing and other unnecessary performance gimmicks. He should just stick to his soulful voice if he wants a chance to win Idol.

Resources:

Tiwan Strong MySpace

JoesPlaceBlog Spoilers for Tiwan Strong and Season 10

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