Rejection and American Idol

Rejection was a theme on television last night. At least that’s what I picked up.

On America’s Next Top Model, Tyra decided to trick the models into believing they were being sent home instead of invited on the show. As they were ready to tote their luggage down the empty hall of their dreams, Tyra (as OZ) dropped her big ass curtain, revealing their trendy LA apartment.

The girls fell apart. I’m talking panic attacks and Niagra tears.

Was the point of the cruelty to make them appreciate their blessed position? Was it to make sure they knew how fast Tyra could *snap* her fingers and make it all disappear?

I changed the channel. All those dog-howling screams during the first few episodes really got to me. I may be deaf.

I started watching American Idol instead. It didn’t take long before I was crying my eyes out. I couldn’t believe they cut Chris Medina. (What a man, right? Talk about a hero.) Then Jennifer Lopez went and said something that made me think about writing…and once again, Rejection. There I was in my flannel PJs, sitting on the couch with my legs curled beneath me, munching on some popcorn, my dog snoring atop my feet, and J.Lo literally stops me mid-munch.

While crushing singers’ dreams as lightly as she could, the diva said (forgive the paraphrase), “Don’t let this No discourage you. You’ll get rejected a lot in this business. I did. A lot. Now if you want this…if you really want this…you’ll learn what you’ve got to do to make it happen. And then you’ll do it.”

It was then I realized…some of those singers who got rejected will go home, decide they made it further than they ever thought possible, and be fine-and-dandy with that. They’ll live perfectly happy lives knowing they gave American Idol the best shot they could…they got far…and they’re proud. (As they should be!) They can sleep peacefully at night knowing they at least reached for their dreams. What makes me sad is that many of them had AMAZING talent. I’d buy a few of their songs, had they stuck to their guns and sealed a record deal. But it’s what good enough for them, and not me, or America or the judges, that matters, right?

Some writers aspire to finish that one novel that’s been hanging over their heads for years. Some writers finish that novel, then wait years to begin the agent hunt for fear of being rejected. Putting your heart and soul into something just to see it turned down is a hard pill to swallow. Some writers receive one rejection or ten or fifty and think Hey, I got this far. This was further than most people got. And they quit much too soon. Before they fully developed their craft. Before they really stretched themselves to the limit.

I think Jennifer Lopez was on to something. I think the people who make it…the ones who really make it…they’re the ones who feel it’s never good enough. They can always be better. Their work, their art, their drive, can never be strong enough. Look at the greats in any field and think about their determination, their sacrifice, their drive: Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Al Pacino, Anne Rice, Madonna, Cher, Michael Jackson, etc, etc, etc. I could seriously go on and on. Think about your favorite artist, in any form. Although there are insta-stars in any business, I’d be willing to bet they were faced with hurdle after hurdle before reaching their goal.

At least this is what I’m telling myself as I face rejection after rejection in my own journey.

For all you idol fans, my favorite this season is Tim Halperin. I’m not sure he’ll win because he’s not really the total package that American Idol looks for, but damn his voice is awesome.


3 thoughts on “Rejection and American Idol

  1. You (and J-Lo) make a great point. We writers all have to learn to bounce back from rejection, but to really make it count, we have to learn something from it. It's not just trying again, but trying to make ourselves better. Great post.

  2. i hate when the girls on top model scream like crazy! i didn't really watch the past couple season but my friend and i watched the one from last night. my question is what about the girls they DID give pictures to, the ones they tricked into thinking they made the show so the other ones could "appreciate" their "loss"? i thought that was worse, telling the one group they made it when they didn't really. unless they knew all along too? who knows!

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