Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Wanna Be the Next American Idol

My guitar if I were a rock star
I’m an “American Idol” super fan. I watch every single week, and if I have to go somewhere one night, I dvr it. After all these years, it’s still a show I wouldn’t miss. I even vote for my favorites. I don’t care about the declining numbers, unless that means the show gets cancelled. This year was extra special as my favorite contestant, Caleb Johnson, won.

As I watched the judges, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, critique the contestants this year, I kept thinking how relevant their comments were for poets as well as musicians. I took some notes as the weeks went by:

If the delivery is too introspective, you may keep the audience out.

You need to know what the words mean or you won’t feel them or communicate them to the audience.

Match your body to the words.

There must be emotional dynamics in the delivery.

Know who you are, what kind of artist you want to be—but from time to time, surprise us.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Get out of your wheelhouse. Show us a new version of you. Do what you haven’t done before.

If you’re giving us what we know, put a twist on it.

If you always do the same thing, you become predictable. Take risks. You can’t grow as an artist if you don’t.

Be dependable without being predictable.

You need both the yin and the yang. You can’t be all one or the other.

Give us authenticity.

Rehearse to get rid of the nerves.

Be self-assertive. Come out and own it.

Sing your song to someone. Imagine someone.

All good advice for poets, yes? Poetry is our singing.

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