Last night’s American Idol was misleading in several ways. First, there was the fake Steven Tyler apology (which I predicted, by the way). Then there was the just-off-the-farm portrayal of aspiring country singer John Wayne Schulz who, we now know, previously released an album.
TMZ reports today that John Wayne Schulz, the likeable cowboy who appeared on last night’s auditions along with his likeable parents, is not an amateur singer because he released an album at age 14, and one of his songs was “considered for 7 Grammy nominations.” [Source: ‘American Idol’ – The Cowboy Deception, TMZ, 2/3/11, downloaded from: http://www.tmz.com/2011/02/03/american-idol-cowboy-john-wayne-schulz-deception-record-label-cd-album/]
The album is not currently listed for sale on Amazon.com, so we have to question how big a hit it actually was. Also, I’m not sure what being “considered” for a Grammy nomination means; at a minimum, it means that the song was not actually nominated. For me, though, the most amusing thing about this John Wayne Schulz story is that Schulz himself had to know that the truth about his recording past would come out. It was the American Idol producers who chose to portray him as a complete amateur.
Does this Schulz issue matter? It does if you want to believe that American Idol is an amateur talent contest in which people with no industry experience compete for a shot at the big time. That, generally, is how American Idol promotes itself, and note that American Idol did not reveal John Wayne Schulz’s recording past.
But on the other hand, we already know that there are experienced singers on American Idol. Adam Lambert was already a professional, as was David Archuleta (who had won Star Search, as I recall). At this point, any Idol fans who still believe the show is composed entirely of amateurs are just kidding themselves. If you want pure amateurs, just watch for the people who sing horribly in the Idol auditions; they are amateurs.
Here’s the bottom line on John Wayne Schulz: He is an obviously talented singer who fits neatly into a specific fan demographic (i.e., country), and that makes him a perfect contestant for the American Idol producers. Here’s my next prediction about this season’s American Idol: We will see Schulz again in the top 20. He is just too perfect a contestant for the producers to let him slip away.
‘American Idol’ – The Cowboy Deception, TMZ, 2/3/11, downloaded from: http://www.tmz.com/2011/02/03/american-idol-cowboy-john-wayne-schulz-deception-record-label-cd-album/