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The Idol Mania: What it takes to win

American Idol 09As the 8th season of the American Idol song star contest goes down to the final two contestants, I’m sure many people have been wondering how these contestants, Adam Lambert and Kris Allen are going to finish out when the grand finale comes off a few days from now – or maybe we’ve all reached this conclusion already. Adam, who hails from “just down the road” San Diego, seems to have to 100% backing of at three, if not all the judges, especially music industry mentor Simon Cowl. Simon didn’t make any bones about why he thinks Adam will win, and both of the “girls” Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi are definitely in his camp.

Israel’s Kohav Nolad (A Star is Born) song contest will soon be starting it’s new season, and both young and not-so-young aspiring signers will come from all over the country to Herzelia Studios to have a go in a contest which so far has only seen one winner, Ninet Tayeb, really make a big splash in the Israeli music world, although a male winner Boaz Mauda, put in a respectable showing in the 2008 Eurovision songfest

Which brings us to the point we want to make in regards to what really is important to push a contestant over the line in the voting. Many people were shocked, including at three of the judges, when Milwaukee Wisconsin’s candidate Danny Goky was eliminated from the competition on Wednesday, after the results of one of largest audience voting on record, 88 million + came in. Even Idol host, Ryan Seacrest, seemed a bit surprised when Kris, who hails from the small Arkansas town of Conway (pop. 24,000) received more votes than Danny did – even though it had been proven time and time again that Goky was a much better singer.

The answer, friends, is very simple, at least in regards to male contestants: sex appeal. And in this respect, both Adam and Kris appear to have the edge over Danny, as well as being at least 4 years younger. In this cut-throat, competitive gig and hype trip known as the music business, in most cases a singer has to have not only a fantastic voice but the looks to go along with it as well. This is especially true for male singers, whose adoring “groupie” fans consist of millions of young girls and young women between the ages of 12 and 25 who have fantasies of being kissed (or something else) by a contestant such as Adam, who’s mischievous, sexy smile is almost reminiscent of Michael Jackson, or Kris who is just plain good looking. Danny, while “cute” to many just comes over too much as the “good boy next door” who some girl might like to have as brother or best friend – but not as a lover or boyfriend.

Susan BoyleFor female singers, that is not always the case, as was sensationalized recently when a frumpy 48 year old spinster named Susan Boyle wowed everyone in a recent Idol-like Britain has Talent competition, on which Simon Cowl also sits as judge (he was floored by her singing!)

As Idol judge and music icon Randy Jackson would say: “check it out, dude, that’s what’s coming down”; and that’s what will push Adam Lambert “over the line” when the final votes are fast and tallied.

By the way, I suppose all of you noticed the name embossed on singer Katy Perry’s costume when she cam on towards the end of Wednesday Idol show. That name says it all.

Boaz Mauda Crowned New Star in Israel’s “Star is Born” Songfest

Boaz Mauda
Boaz Mauda, a young 20 year old singer of Yemenite extraction, won Israel’s 5th Star is Born song contest Wednesday before a live crowd of more than 40,000 and a television audience of at least 3 million. Produced this year as an outside venue, on the placid eastern shores of Lake Kinneret; Boaz finally won the songfest, after receiving the largest number of phone-in votes from the more than 900,000 who participated in a one hour phone-in voting for the three finalists, who also included Marina Maximillian Blumin, who came in 2nd, and Shlomi Barel., who finished 3rd.

This year’s contest, which began with literally hundreds of young (and not so young) singer ‘wannabees’ signing up, seems to be turning into a bigger and bigger “hype-fest” by the program’s producer Zvika “Jo-Jo” Hadar, whose overall TV ratings must have soared even higher as a result of this 8 week program that has captured more prime time viewers that just about anything else on Israeli TV.

Boaz, who had well known singer and guitarist David Broza as his mentor and accompaniment on the first song number that he performed, appears to continue a long list of Israeli singers and entertainers of Yemenite origin who have become successful in the entertainment world. A few of these include Yaffa Yarkoni, Ofra Haza, Ischar Cohen, and Gali Atari. What was interesting in this year’s competition what that the three finalists represented three distinct segments of Israel’s multi-ethnic population. Besides Boaz Mauda’s Yemenite background, Marina Blumin hails from Israel’s million-plus Russian population, and Shlomi Barel from the country’s large Moroccan origin population; most of whom immigrated to Israel in the early 1950’s.

All three finalists have been promised recording and stage contracts; but obviously Boaz came out with the best deals which also included a new Chevrolet car. It might of have been nice to have seen a woman win the contest this year as this hasn’t been accomplished since the first Star is Born contest when Ninate Taib, then a 20 year old army corporal, came out of nowhere, and not only won the contest but launched a singing and acting career that has already catapulted her into Superstar ranking.

In fact, Ninate is the only contest inner who has really made something of herself in the music and entertainment world. The only other contestant who has embarked on a successful career as a result of “Chochav Nolad” (the Hebrew name for the songfest) was Shiri Maimon who placed second behind Ninate in the original competition.

Still, despite all the hoopla, Star is Born, Israel’s equivalent to American Idol, has been a welcomed diversion to what might otherwise be boring summertime television re-runs. The contest also shows that young people with talent can enter this event with the hope of perhaps making their entertainment career dreams come true.

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