American Idol Spoiler Watch - John Park Reportedly Makes the Voting Rounds
Park Similar to Anoop Desai (Without the RnB)
According to JoesPlaceBlog.com, John Park, an Asian American Northwestern college student, has made the Top 24 voting rounds for American Idol 9. Idol showed John Park's Chicago audition. All the judges gave him praise, and Shania Twain said he had a nice bottom and nice lips. The judges cracked up over that, and it seemed to be more of a distraction from John instead of focusing on him.
Perhaps John just doesn't have much of a backstory to go on, so the producers edited his audition into some kind of joke. Anyway, assuming that the spoilers are correct, John Park will likely not emerge as a favorite to win American Idol this year. That does not mean I am not rooting for him, but history suggests that he has little to no chance of taking the title of American Idol champion.
Honestly, John is a great singer. He has technical skills, great control, and a decent vocal range. However, videos of his performances online, just like his audition, come across as unoriginal. John does not seem to have any kind of personal style or distinctive voice to set himself apart from the other competitors. He is very similar to Anoop Desai from the eighth season of Idol. They are both technically good but uncreative singers. He would likely fare very well in a choir competition that is based strictly on technical skills. But Idol is a popularity contest. Thus, a marketable image and style that includes some kind of originality becomes more important.
It is interesting to explore how race affects voting on American Idol. To be sure, there have been some minority champions like Fantasia, Ruben Studdard and Jordin Sparks. The public as a whole will vote for a minority, but will they vote in large numbers for an Asian contestant like John Park? It is at least possible. Jasmine Trias, a Hawaiian of Filipino descent, made it to third place during the third season of Idol. Many felt that Jasmine was not even a strong contestant, so race does not appear to strongly affect voting for minorities on Idol.
However, personality does seem to have a strong effect on voting. John probably does deserve to make the voting rounds based purely on talent. But he did not appear to have a strong, charismatic personality when Idol aired his audition. He seemed somewhat quiet and surprised that the judges liked him. Sometimes, you can just tell that a contestant does not seem totally comfortable on camera. John was relaxed but did not seem prepared to show his personality. Of course, this could change. And it should change if John wants to emerge as an American Idol favorite.
At this point, John Park appears to be a longshot to take down the title this season. He can attempt to help his chances by developing a more unique style and fun image. He should loosen up and just have fun. The technical skills are there, but voters cast their votes for personalities, not voices. Going in with no originality except being Asian will not be enough to excel.
I think an Asian American Idol winner would be great. I don't care about race and never consider race when becoming a fan of contestants. On the other hand, America is about diversity and giving everyone a chance to achieve his dream. Crowning an Asian winner would reaffirm that America is a great place for people to live and reach for their dreams. Unfortunately, John Park has a lot of adjustments to make to get to that point.