The Idol Factor
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About 30 million viewers tune in to watch American Idol each week. With significant interest and business in the music industry (and for a touch of guilty pleasure) I tune in each week and play “Armchair Record Exec” along with my wife, Kristina. I have even taken a stab at playing some “Fantasy Idol” and picking the winners. I had a good run at it last year but alas Sanjaya Malakar staying on the show led to my demise because I continued to pick him to get the axe each week, but much to my disgust (and my Fantasy Idol ranking) he stayed much longer than any of us expected! But I digress…

The interesting thing about American Idol is, if you watch from the beginning of the season through the first few weeks of auditions, you can clearly see who is talented and who is not and you can usually see why the judges would let certain parties through to Hollywood week. Once you hit hollywood week the “It” factor becomes even more evident. But once the hopefuls take the mainstage, as the top 24, its funny how often I hear myself saying “This guy/girl needs to pack their bags and head home! They are a one trick pony and they already played out the one song they know how to sing in auditions to get to this point.”

The point is that you really only get clarity on who deserves to be there, when you can line up all of the talent at once and COMPARE them. When you can do this it becomes obvious who the best are. This is something that very few of us get to do with the opportunities in our lives. Whether it be investments, business opportunities or even the chance, which I take on every now and then, to pitch a client to the major record labels for a record deal.

When I hear someone sing for the first time in my board room or at a live concert, I can tell if they are talented or not. But, even if I think they’ve got a shot at making it, what I don’t have access to is a place where I can conjure up everyone else at that moment who is going to be making a run at it during the same period of time. That info would make life much easier wouldn’t it?

Well, that’s a tall order, but the real question is: Are you taking the time to lay out all of the opportunities in front of you so you can find the real hits? If not you’re spending a lot of time and energy on opportunities that just may not be hit material. They may look like great opportunities, but they may not look so great next to a couple of other opportunities.

So, take the time to review what’s in front of you, do your research and make sure you are spending your time on the things that will reap the greatest rewards…not on a business that Simon Cowell would call “self-indulgent” or a waste of time.

And now what you’ve all been waiting for, here are my 2008 American Idol Picks for who I think will make the top 5:

(There may be some variance here for sure depending on the song choices and how well the contestants can reveal enough personality to cut through the clutter and take the focus off of their voices. But its a bit early to tell that at this point)

1. David Archuletta (and I think he will probably win if he can stay humble)
2. David Cook
3. Michael Johns
4. Carly Smithson
5. Brooke White