This year’s American Idol judges are like doting, indulgent parents – afraid to make the slightest critical remark lest one of their Idol offspring suffers long-term negative effects. However, the one bit of constructive feedback the Idol judges do seem willing to give is this… the secret to success in the music biz is “being true to your unique style”. As Uncle Randy is always telling the kids, “make the songs your own – do something different with them”. Although often unheeded, the message is clear – don’t be a poor imitation of someone else. When an Idol veers from their unique voice it comes across as fake. The audience doesn’t “get it” and the contestant ends up with a one way ticket home.
The same is true when it comes to selecting your personal style. Image is everything in Hollywood and like it or not, any star in Tinsletown will tell you that how you “package” yourself is as important as how you perform. That doesn’t mean that every gal needs to copy Jaylo’s sultry style and every guy needs Justin Bieber’s do, but it is imperative that your personal style reflects who you are as an artist if you want to truly connect with your audience and be catapulted to super-stardom.
For example, Lauren Alaina first came to us as a sweet 16 year old southern belle who was compared with the fun, lighthearted Dolly Parton. But nothing about Lauren’s Idol “look” says fun and lighthearted. Big disconnect! Instead, the words that come to mind here are emo, sad and therapy. She’s currently a poor imitation of a Goth Princess, but we’re still all hoping that effervescent, country-rock girl we fell in love with during auditions will re-emerge. If Lauren can manage to lighten up and start having some fun with her fashion and her music she could easily make it to the final 3, and follow in the footsteps of such greats as Carrie Underwood and Ms. Parton herself. Please Lauren, step away from the goth kool-aid and move towards the light!
Casey Abrams is all over the board with his style choices. One minute he looks like a stoner who lives in his Mom’s basement. The next minute he looks like he’s going for an interview at a bank. Neither look suits his funky, irreverent jazzy style and leaves us feeling confused.
Jacob Lusk has been compared to Luther Vandross and can move his hips at the speed of light, yet his look screams church choir. Been there. Done that. It’s time for Jacob to spread his wings and morph. He would win a lot more votes with an edgier look, but right now he’s about as edgy as a Telly-Tubby. Will the real Jacob please come out of the fashion closet?
Now here’s a guy who knows who he is – and no surprise, he’s one of the Idol favorites. James Durbin has been a rocker since day one. He hasn’t vacillated from his “unique style” one iota and we applaud him. When Jimmy Lovine told him this week’s heavy metal song choice was wrong, James simply said, “Thanks for sharing” and stayed true to his gut and his genre (with excellent results). James perfectly illustrates that you don’t need a degree in fashion styling to look the part -you just need to wear clothing that you’re at home in -as almost every outfit he wears reflects his true rocker soul.
Stefano Langone looks like he’s auditioning for clean-up crew (which is no surprise since he always sweeps the bottom 3). He also seems to have some holes in his wardrobe he needs to address…
Scotty McCreery knows who he is and his personal style reflects it. He’s country through and through and whether you’re a “fan” or not, you can never accuse him of trying to be someone else. Interesting to note that Scotty is one of the favorites and it’s almost unanimously agreed that whether he wins Idol or not his future is scorchingly bright in the world of country music. We’ll say we knew him when…
Haley Reinhart hasn’t found her true voice yet and the votes flip flop widely to reflect that. One minute she’s in the top 3, the next minute she’s dangerously close to an epic fail. The same could be said for her clothing/style choices. She went from an 80’s fashion disaster a few weeks ago to this 70’s shagadelic number below (which we actually kinda like even though the print reminds us of the Partridge family bus). Haley, who are you? Janis Joplin, Blondie, or maybe the female version of Danny Bonaducci? Better decide soon… there aren’t many shopping days left til Christmas.
Hmmmm. So given the fact that your personal style truly tells us who you are as an artist, this week’s guest star, Rihanna, must be a really fancy bedspread. How fitting that the song she was singing was entitled, “California King Bed”.
That’s all for this week. We’d love to hear your thoughts on Idol’s search for style…