Does American Idol have an ‘aw shucks’ PR problem?

The show’s past five winners have been white singers who appeal to the 10 to 15-year-old female demographic—and that creates a problem for ‘Idol.’ Here are some ideas to fix it.

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You’d have to go back five years to find a winner who wasn’t. Since Jordin Sparks took the title in 2007, the winners have all been white guys: David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, and Phillip Phillips.

I have no objection to “Idol” voters selecting white men as the winners. But I do have a problem with a program that consistently slights superior singers for ones who appeal to the 10 to 15-year-old female demographic. As a result, the winners are now predictably always “aw shucks” nice guy white male contestants.

And that creates a PR problem for “Idol.”

No one who watched this season can credibly argue that Philip Phillips was the best vocalist. R&B crooner Joshua Ledet, a church-tinged singer who consistently provided a “wow” factor, finished third.

That’s like James Brown, Otis Redding, or Sam Cooke finishing third to Huey Lewis, Dave Matthews, or Rob Thomas. They’re all good singers, but the first group of three is in a different league.

The below video is of Phillips singing “Time of the Season.” Listen to that falsetto and tell me he deserved to be named the best-undiscovered singer in the United States.

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