Many young people have dreams of stardom. For a select few, those dreams become reality. But the glitz and glamour of fame can obscure a long and difficult road -- and that can cause problems for aspiring performers.
For 19 seasons, first on Fox and now on ABC, American Idol has introduced plenty of new talent to the world.
The judges/mentors for season 20 –- Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan –- all made it to the top, but their journeys were not easy, which they want to share with us all.
During a recent press event with the judges, Perry recalled her rough beginning in the entertainment industry:
“The [hard] thing for me was probably hearing ‘no’ so many times and then still betting on myself and believing, after having three record deals and being dropped, and two cars repossessed and sleeping on couches, and eating Trader Joe's chicken tenders for, like, a year and a half.
That was not that hard, but it was all a part of the process.”
Kids do not realize how tough the road to success can be. Talent is only part of the recipe. Toughness and dedication are also necessary.
“The one thing that you just cannot overlook [is] the time you have to put in. And there's always that moment where you say, ‘I'm ready.’
"And we hear these kids on American Idol say so many times, ‘I'm ready. I'm 15 years old. I'm ready to go.’ And we're saying, ‘No, you're not.’”
It’s daunting to tell someone that he or she is on the road to success but not there yet. Parents have to walk a fine line between encouragement and caution. No parent wants to squash their child’s dreams.
The judges can empathize with the contestants on the show.
“We've been there before,” Richie said. “We've heard nos more than we've ever heard yeses.”
And Perry acknowledged, “You really have to be kind of born with something. A lot of these kids come in here, and they are not ready.”
Bryan conceded, “No matter what you do, you've always got to reinvent yourself and take it to the next level.
"And each stress of that next level, gosh, was always very, very challenging, and that's what so many of these kids don't realize, that the stress never ends.”
Providing encouragement to aspiring performers while also enforcing the realities of success is a difficult thing.
However, it is necessary to prepare a child for the rough-and-tumble world of the entertainment industry.
Also, along with talent, dedication, determination, and patience, there is an additional element that often comes into play, and that is luck.
You can't plan luck, but you can prepare for the moment it may arrive.
The best thing parents can do is give children the time to enrich their talent while still grounding them in reality.
When American Idol returns for the 20th season on February 27, 2022, there will be many kids watching and dreaming of their own success.
It can happen, but it takes a lot of love, encouragement, and, most important of all, keeping their feet firmly on the ground.