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Sandy Knauer

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My American Idol Pick
3/1/2006 2:52:29 AM

Simon has taken quite a beating in the media over what some perceive as cruel and inhumane treatment of the American Idol contestants


Modesty is one of the things I admired most in the musician I married. I said he never took the credit he deserved. He said, "When you're good, you don't have to tell people. They tell you."
He died thirteen years ago. Recently, our daughter met a disk jockey and some fans who were still talking about how great a musician her father was.
Another good lesson I learned from this man was to value fans and people with more experience. He grew from listening to the advice and criticism he received from others.
On the flip side of this story, I watched a decent performer waste his potential by surrounding himself only with people who said what he wanted to hear. With a bit of coaching, or a few words of criticism taken to heart, he might have become great.
At the age of eight, my daughter took first place in a regional singing competition. As a result, the producer of a local television program she had previously only danced on invited her to sing on a few episodes. When a stranger recognized her in public, and I noticed her little head swell, I remembered her father's words. When she slacked off on her practices, I knew she could use his lessons.
"Everyone in the competition was good," I reminded her. "Your trophy only means that on one day, a set of judges enjoyed your performance more than the others. On another day, or with a different group of judges, the outcome might be different. Your work is not done."
For the next ten years, I tried to make sure she received a healthy balance of praise and criticism. I could honestly commend her effort and dedication because she was always a hard worker. However, her performances were not always perfect, and I let her know where I thought she needed improvement. When she outgrew me, I paid a small fortune for a voice coach who might be Simon Cowell's mentor.
Which brings me to the title of this article. Simon has taken quite a beating in the media over what some perceive as cruel and inhumane treatment of the American Idol contestants. I'm here to vouch for his authenticity, commend his honesty, and vote him my pick for American Judge.
All contestants go into this competition knowing Simon Cowell will critique their performance in stage presence, vocals, marketability, personality, and song choice. Right or wrong, each of these categories matter in the business and he says nothing these performers won't hear from industry executives should they be lucky enough to get in the door for an audition.
Simon delivers a slice of reality, without the usual fee or likely bribe. Thick skin is a requirement in the business, and anyone who hasn't developed this required hide is probably not ready for the big time.
Paula Abdul, who won't allow Simon to deliver a critique without interrupting and physically abusing him, is portrayed as the nicer person. Randy Jackson's comments are often inaccurate and his advice far less useful, but he evades public criticism. Without Simon's input, I fear many of these contestants would walk away with nothing, straight into the wasted potential trap.
Our society seems incapable of dealing with honesty. I believe we have forfeited educational components of communication in the name of nice, or in search of a misconstrued version of self-esteem. I wonder what will happen to a generation of people raised on inflated egos and hollow pedestals.
A no-holds-barred, potentially excruciating, honest critique by Simon Cowell is at the top of my daughter's wish list. I salute her courage. She's my American Idol pick, and Simon the judge I most admire.
Sandy Knauer






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More Blogs by Sandy Knauer
• No Resolutions Here - Friday, January 04, 2008
• Link to flagged article - Thursday, March 15, 2007
• God Does Make Garbage - And Other Annoying News - Friday, February 09, 2007
• Action Alert: AFA at it again - Wednesday, January 24, 2007
• Kid-free Zone - Sunday, December 10, 2006
• He Deserves Better - Saturday, September 30, 2006
• Glasses or Stage? - Wednesday, August 16, 2006
• A Walk With My Real Mother - Friday, August 11, 2006
• Al Gore and My High School Reunion - Thursday, July 06, 2006
• Damn You - Sunday, July 02, 2006
• And Not So Great First Dates - Sunday, June 25, 2006
• Great Dates - Sunday, June 25, 2006
• Happy Father's Day For Me - Saturday, June 17, 2006
• We Don't Share Crayons - Friday, June 16, 2006
• Roly-poly Slobber - Monday, June 12, 2006
• John Wayne and Elvis Were Full of Shit and You Probably Are Too - Monday, June 05, 2006
• Ignorance Is Bliss - Monday, May 29, 2006
• Let It Be - Thursday, April 27, 2006
• Can We Leave Justice to the Luck of the Draw? - Friday, April 14, 2006
• Gospel of Judas - Thursday, April 06, 2006
• Healthcare Costs – How We Turn Molehills into Mountains - Tuesday, March 28, 2006
• Feather Light - Monday, March 20, 2006
• Dissecting Charity - Saturday, March 11, 2006
• Sublime Abandon - Monday, March 06, 2006
• Behind the Headlines - Saturday, March 04, 2006
• Define Education - Saturday, March 04, 2006
•  My American Idol Pick - Wednesday, March 01, 2006  

• Tepid Judgment - Tuesday, February 28, 2006
• Purpose - Thursday, February 23, 2006
• HUH? - Tuesday, February 21, 2006
• Coddled Insanity - Sunday, February 19, 2006
• Ooops, My Bad - Thursday, February 16, 2006
• I Don't Need A Wife - Monday, February 13, 2006
• Fuzzy Edges - Monday, February 13, 2006
• Who's Reading - Sunday, February 05, 2006
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• Is Literary a Dirty Word - Friday, February 03, 2006
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• Suspended In Time - Monday, January 30, 2006
• Plea to Democratic Party - Tuesday, January 24, 2006
• correction - Friday, January 13, 2006
• Alito's Sideshow and Abortion Soapbox - Wednesday, January 11, 2006
• Hard To Swallow Those Extra Words - Friday, January 06, 2006
• While You Were Sleeping - Monday, December 19, 2005
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• Bob's Dinner - Sunday, November 13, 2005
• There, But For The Grace of God - Tuesday, November 08, 2005
• Delay Precedent - Friday, November 04, 2005
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• Somewhere In The Middle - Tuesday, September 20, 2005
• I Can't - Monday, September 19, 2005
• Twister Anyone? - Thursday, September 08, 2005
• Application Denied - Wednesday, September 07, 2005
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• A Day For News - Thursday, August 04, 2005
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• Warning: This News Contains Mixed Messages That May Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health - Friday, July 15, 2005
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The Path vol. 3 no. 1 by Mary Nickum

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