Posted: 9:15 am Monday, May 5th, 2014

Past ‘Idol’ winners possessed humbleness and gratefulness, not arrogance 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: The Final 4: L-R: Alex Preston, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson and Jessica Meuse.   CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: The Final 4: L-R: Alex Preston, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson and Jessica Meuse. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 / FOX Broadcasting.

One characteristic virtually all past “American Idol” winners have had is a basic level of humbleness and a sincere feeling of gratitude for being where they were.

Current front-runner Caleb Johnson is not doing a terribly good job on either the humbleness or gratitude scale. The kicker: last week, he offered rather arrogant comments last week where he called his social media fans “retards” for bombarding him with song selections that “Idol” actually solicited. He said he will pick his own songs, natch.

What’s going on in his head? Does he not want to win? Does he think he is conveying a “rocker” attitude and that’s cool? Does he think he’s just the funniest guy ever?

He has already gotten himself in trouble before on a much smaller scale. He made fun of “old ladies” and kids with peanut allergies, the latter which forced him to apologize sheepishly.  The interview with Buzz TV also included a joke about cocaine and hookers for his hometown visit in Asheville. N.C., a visit he is hardly guaranteed.  If anything, these comments collectively indicate a sadly puerile sense of humor, especially for a 23 year old.

He will lose votes. (Based on comments on MJs blog and this one, he already has lost a few.) Will this hurt him enough to cost him the crown? I’m not sure because this story hasn’t reached the mass public to any major degree and I’m not sure if most of his voters are even aware of what he said.

He’s been a front runner for most of the run of the live show. I’ve had him as my No. 1 since week 12. But that may change quickly.

Will “Idol’ force him to apologize on the live show? I doubt they’d repeat what he said about “retards” on the air. They might have him say something vague about offending people. This might hurt him – or not, if people don’t bother to find out what he actually said.

Jena Irene also has a problem with attitude. Some construe her confidence as arrogance. (Just look at the photo above? Is that a certain victorious type of body language?)

Bottom line: besides talent, likability is what gets you votes on “Idol.” Think about the two most successful winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. To this day, I don’t think the word “arrogance” has ever been described for either of them. Likable? Yes. Sweet? Yes. Hard-working and determined? Of course.

How about others? Ruben Studdard’s nicknamed of the “Velvet Teddy Bear.” That says it all. Fantasia wasn’t a traditional type of humble but she possessed a pained vulnerability that made you want to hug her and make her feel better. Taylor Hicks was very very confident and not exactly humble but goofy likable, someone who was just thrilled to perform before 30 million people a week. His joy was palpable and he got the votes.

Jordin Sparks conveyed sweetness and a “gee whiz” attitude that Taylor Swift would envy. David Cook gave us a shrewd type of humbleness, carrying himself with confidence but never taking his competition with David Archuleta for granted. He worked hard each week and you could tell that he wanted to win but not at the expense of his rivals. Kris Allen? The epitome of humble. Lee DeWyze? Less talented than Kris but just happy (and probably shocked) to be the winner at all. (I still am.) Scotty McCreery embodied an “aw shucks” glad-to-be-here persona from day one.

Phillip Phillips didn’t always like what happened on the show (group sings anyone?) but he never came across as ungrateful for the opportunities “Idol” gave him. He never dissed his fans. He just seemed like a genuinely nice dude. And he deserved to win.

Last year’s winner is the closest to a cipher to me. While I loved her singing, Candace Glover’s personality wasn’t quite as easy to define. She is a bit of a blur to me a year later and her lack of artistic success doesn’t surprise me. But she certainly never said anything on air or off that I can recall was troublesome.

You can argue more talented folks some years lost because they had a bit of an attitude problem. They either got overconfident or conveyed a level of arrogance that turned voters off.  Remember season one when Justin Guarini talked back to the judges? The next week? He was in the bottom. Both Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry had attitude issues and it cost them the win, though certainly their careers blossomed after the fact.

And that could happen to Caleb, too, though the chances are far smaller given that only one-quarter of viewers are paying attention vs. 2006. Regardless,  he needs to learn to respect his fans and his audience if wants anything close to a career. Period.

***
Here was Caleb’s effort at sort of apologizing, which didn’t help matters because he used the “I’m sorry if you were offended” tact, which most people find insincere:

For the record that juvenile comment I made in the interview was not directed towards my fans but to the wackos that send hundreds of hate messages a day to me ! You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your support. Sorry if it offended anybody it was the wrong choice of words . Also I greatly appreciate it when you guys give me song suggestions but it gets really overwhelming at the volume it comes in so please understand ! Rock on !:)

***

So my Power 4 this week? It’s all changed up!

1. Alex Preston. Sure. I thought he might be the surprise elimination last week. But now I think he may just win this thing. His singular vision and his whole WGWG vibe might help him take home the prize. His fans have proven to be solid and have kept him out of the bottom to date. (last week’s ranking- 2)

2. Jena Irene. She has built up a fan base with a strong stage presence and impressive versatility that may just carry her to the finals.  (3)

3. Caleb Johnson. Did his “retard’ comment really hurt him? It did with me. I’m not even sure a strong performance this week will matter. He won’t win. (1).

4. Jessica Meuse. She knows she is now going to need some real help to survive. She is improving. She needs to improve even more to stick around much longer. (5)

***
The theme this week is love: break ups and make ups. In other words, it’s another broad theme. Most songs are about love.

 

217 comments
ElaineBurt
ElaineBurt

I disagree that Kris Allen is "humble". On the night of his victory over Adam he was shocked because he knew he won by the cheating votes in Arkansas. Kris knew that the vote scandal would come out. Since than, when Idol insisted that Kris's win was fair, when it was not,  he has used his cheating Idol win as bragging rights. Everyone should know by now that Adam was more talented by far and way more popular. The racial discrimination law suit proves that the American Idol producers have the discretion to pick the winner, in spite of the vote count. It is in the contracts. Last year they picked Candice, this year it will probably be Jena since they did not let any good looking guys get to the vote. The producers killed this show with manipulation. 

KokoSnoot
KokoSnoot

@DeirdreC I'm confused!!! Caleb recorded Travelin' Band for iTunes this week?? 

MercedesS
MercedesS

Good for Clay!  I've often thought that actors with strong opinions should get into politics. Like Warren Beatty, Alec Baldwin..

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Clay is a very smart guy, and had a very intense job before Idol (taught disabled kids). I actually watched that stupid Trump show the season he was on, just for him, and he was terrific - should have won - came in a close 2nd.

I guess they're not going to shorten the performance show this go round - (don't they usually go down to either an hour or 1 1/2 hours by now?)

Jenny11
Jenny11

@RodneyHo- I wanted to apologize and clarify.  On the long Jena comment thread below, when I talked about my pet peeve of someone attacking another's character, I didn't mean you.  Upon re-reading, I see that it could have been perceived that way, and I felt bad.  :-(  

Anyway.... Just wanted to say how much I truly do enjoy this blog...  I've followed it since I first found it in Carrie's season.  :-)

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

If there are any duets, I'd like to hear Jessica and Caleb do "Need You Now" - one of those extremely rare country songs I actually really like.

Jenny11
Jenny11

Mercedes - I for one thought it was great for miss.a to jump in and say some positive things about Jena.  I feel like Jena's gotten a lot of bashing here.  

I'd say the same thing about her that I'd say about any of them:  They're young, they're trying to make something of their passion for music, and they're under incredible pressure.  Yes, they're on national TV and thus they signed up for the scrutiny, but where's the positive?  Must we always pick apart everything they do or say?  I love this blog, and love chatting with you all, but I will admit that sometimes the negativity and the quickness to criticize gets to me. 

MercedesS
MercedesS

Can't answer posts, for some reason... just wanted to ask miss a. to say hello to the unicorns and other magical creatures in the fairy land where she lives...

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Jenny: "the Kelly song" is NOT boring - one of the biggest hits of the decade!

I find it a little bit arrogant that a 16 year old drops her last name already, and then says that if she gets a contract she'll probably just be "Jena" - what, is she Cher already? Didn't really care for the last name dropping when Alaina ?? did it a few years ago, and don't care for it now.

I still think Caleb is the best overall contestant, but I guess I'm pulling for Jessica now.

Rickster_
Rickster_

I know 5 of the 8 songs listed. 


Too bad someone's not doing "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette. (Though there were have to be some edits made.) Now THAT is the ultimate break-up song.

Jenny11
Jenny11

Sam - I bet you'll know the Lady Gaga song.  It's a really good one.  Haley Reinhardt did it on her season.  

Hey, how about that... for maybe the first time all season, I know and like most of the songs!

:-)  :-)  :-) 

The only ones I don't care for are Alex's - "Yellow" is just OK, and I've never heard of the other one.

(But hey, not knowing one song out of eight is PERFECTLY fine!  Thank god they are finally choosing some less "current" songs.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Idol.  It's about time.)  

The one other choice I don't care for, is the Kelly choice for Jessica.  (Though I think she'll probably sing it very well.)  I'm just tired of the song... it was so overplayed in its day. 

I pretty much LOVE all the other choices, though!  YAY!  Finally. 

miss.a
miss.a

Jena Irene is not arrogant at all. I know here personally and she is humble, creative, artistic, and a sincere person. There is nothing rude about her. She is entirely kind hearted and enjoys life. She is proud of her accomplishments and wishes everyone well on the show. 


She has what it takes to win. I do not like that you are making assumptions about her character when there is nothing to prove this... if you look at all her interviews she is happy to be a part of the competition and she has made friends with all the contestants. Take your bashing of her "attitude" somewhere else, i am calling your bluff. 

JTesla
JTesla

@KokoSnoot Maybe Idol "suggested" that he go with a song a fan requested over Twitter, as their form of damage control to try and appease his fans.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@KokoSnoot - Maybe he's going to do it as part of a duet?  Was it a solo he recorded?

Rickster_
Rickster_

@MercedesS  Alec Baldwin in politics? Seriously? The guy gives a whole new meaning to the term "loose cannon."

Jenny11
Jenny11

And I put a full explanation of what I meant in the thread itself (rather than drag the whole mess back up top. :-)

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Jenny11  It just seems  that sometimes people are very  quick to forgive wrongdoers. Young Sam IS an awfully young Idol  - did he even say anything youthfully stupid? Not that I can remember.  He's a sweet, well-brought up kid, with manners, who handled the tremendous pressure of being on this show incredibly well.   Caleb is 7 years older, and that's  old enough to know how to behave.  Several times on this show he has made - in public - the kind of comments you amuse yourself with when you're 12.  If he doesn't "learn" from this experience, he never will.  People who believe their own press have a short lifespan in the entertainment business.

JTesla
JTesla

@Jenny11 Like the quickness to criticize American Idol and WGWG's?

It's the nature of the beast (or in this case the nature of the blog).

MercedesS
MercedesS

Sorry for repeat, found orig post way down below. As in WAY.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@Sam-A1  - Sorry, dear sis.  :-)  *wipes egg off of face*.  I should have said it was boring to me (and only because it's overplayed... I think I'm more tired of it than I am bored with it.)  

Jenny11
Jenny11

@Rickster_ - And I'm still preaching "Leaving Las Vegas" for Jessica.  I so, so, SO wish she'd picked that instead of the boring Kelly song. 


MercedesS
MercedesS

@miss.a Say hello to the unicorns and other mythical creatures in the fairy land where you live! 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@miss.a  At no point did Rodney "bash" Jena.  Re-read.  He said that some construe her confidence as arrogance.  Which is true.  Some people DO construe her confidence as arrogance.  And he used her pose in the picture of an example of her CONFIDENCE.  I have no problem with confidence.  I have a problem with her voice which I don't like but that's just me.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@miss.a - I'm glad you're stepping in to defend her.  I like her a lot, and I think she's taken a lot of uncalled-for bashing.  I've not seen all the results shows, but I've watched several of the "dinner conversation" snippets... and I think ALL the remaining contestants seem to be nice, friendly, well-meaning kids.  :-)

(And it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people attack someone's character without actually knowing the person.  HUGE.)

Jenny11
Jenny11

@MercedesS  - True.  Those are very good points. Especially about Sam... He's clearly been SO well brought up!  It's nice to see.  :-)  And Caleb does seem a bit immature, I do agree.  But I guess I'm 100% guilty of being one of those you mention, who's very quick to forgive, and to believe others....

Jenny11
Jenny11

@JTesla - well, yes, I didn't say I don't ever do it myself!  :-) 

It just sometimes gets to me when it gets so very personal, when one person's words and actions get picked apart SO badly, no matter what they do or say... they can just never do anything right.  

Not really sure how to explain it better than that. :-) I guess I've just been in the situation many times (blog and real life both) of saying something that maybe I dashed off quickly, and it wasn't worded to convey exactly what I meant.  So I always feel for others when it happens to them. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC @miss.a - Deirdre - he did say she "has a problem with attitude".  Now, I think Rodney's great, but that isn't necessarily true.  None of us are in her head... we can't read her mind... we don't know what her attitude is.  Maybe she's nervous... maybe she's insecure... we don't know!  Let's not make assumptions that she has a bad attitude.

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Jenny11 miss a. says she "know here (sic) personally"... it's a claim, not substantiated fact.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11  Does it bother you that miss. a. just attacked Rodney for bashing Jena when he didn't?  Just asking

Jenny11
Jenny11

@KokoSnoot - oh, that might be it.  They don't seem to care about keeping the song choices secret any more... not like they used to.  

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11 @DeirdreC @miss.a  I repeat:

Question:  Do SOME people see her attitude as arrogant?  Answer: yes!  Whether she is arrogant or not has nothing to do with other people's IMPRESSIONS of her.  That's why her "attitude" may be problematic.  Some people interpret it as arrogant(whether it is or not).  His statement is clearly about other people's impressions rather than about  whether Jena is actually arrogant or not.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11 @DeirdreC @miss.a  I asked her to re-read because she is clearly misinterpreting Rodney's words(as are you).  She said: Take your bashing of her "attitude" somewhere else, i am calling your bluff. Did you not find that rude?  I did.  Especially since Rodney was not bashing anybody, just explaining that some people interpret Jena's attitude as arrogant and that may be a problem for her.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC @miss.a  - Why don't we let Rodney explain what he was trying to say?  Clearly, we view it differently.

(And I don't think it was very nice of you to order miss.a to "Re-read.") 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11 @DeirdreC @miss.a  Did he say EVERYBODY construes her attitude as arrogant.  No he didn't.  But some people DO.  And the problem that she has with her attitude is that some people see it as arrogance.  That's true.  Not bashing

Jenny11
Jenny11

Rodney's post wasn't "attacking" either... my "pet peeve" comment was much more about me than about the subject of Jena. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

And @RodneyHo , I'm sorry you were dragged into this whole thing.  When I talked about my pet peeve of someone attacking another's character, I didn't mean you.  Upon re-reading, I see that it could have been taken that way, and wanted to clarify.  My original intent in responding to miss.a was to affirm the good things she said about Jena.  The "pet peeve" statement was probably a long-delayed response to things that have been said about me here in the past.  :-( 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - I guess you mean mine. I know we often seem to push each other's buttons.  I didn't mean to offend you with my comment above to @JTesla .  I just meant that, though he and I often don't agree either, he always has such a nice way of putting things.  And over my several years of posting here, I've been hurt and taken aback more than once by your harshness towards me.  I truly don't think you mean for it to be as hurtful as I take it, but I guess our personalities really are polar opposite. :-(

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC So, you have a problem with attitude. ;)

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@JTesla  Thank you JT..Apparently my "attitude" prevents me from saying exactly the same thing in a "nice" way.  ;-)

Jenny11
Jenny11

@JTesla - :-)  I think that's a much nicer way to put it.  Thanks. 


JTesla
JTesla

@Jenny11 I'm sure she's very nice, many have commented about her attitude. Hence, there is a problem with attitude.

Will the perception of her attitude, right or wrong, cost her votes? Yes, hence it is a problem.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11  Question:  Do SOME people see her attitude as arrogant?  Answer: yes!  Whether she is arrogant or not has nothing to do with other people's IMPRESSIONS of her.  That's why her "attitude" may be problematic.  Some people interpret it as arrogant(whether it is or not).  His statement is clearly about other people's impression rather than about  

whether Jena is actually arrogant or not.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - I will repeat what I said below.  None of us are in her head... we can't read her mind... we don't know what her attitude is.  Maybe she's nervous... maybe she's insecure... we don't know!  Let's not make assumptions that she has a "problem with attitude."

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11 @DeirdreC  And that is absolutely correct.  She has a problem with an attitude that is sometimes construed as arrogant.  That's not a lie or bashing. It's reporting a fact.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - We just crossed posts... I was addressing exactly that below.  I love Rodney's blog, but he DID say she "has a problem with attitude."  

And miss.a's post didn't really read as "attacking" to me.