Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why Asians May not Make it as the First American Idol

Filipinos love to sing. It is also undisputed that Filipino singers, soloists or choirs, are world class, judging by the awards Filipino singing contestants had garnered worldwide over the years.

I am not really a fan of American Idol but I know that there were Filipino contestants who made it to the semi-finals, at least. Jasmine Trias, Ramielle Malubay, and that girl from the second batch of Smokey Mountain come to mind. I am not astounded that these girls almost made it. For me, world-class singing is such a given for Filipino music artists.

I know that Filipinos would like to see a fellow Filipino or even a fellow Asian become the first Asian-American Idol. If you ask me, this is just asking for the moon. Not because Filipinos are not talented enough to win the top spot, but because we must accept the fact that when it comes to entertainment in the US, blacks or African-Americans have more chance of making it than Filipinos or Asians. Even Lea Salonga, despite her success on Broadway and her Tony award won't be accepted as an American idol because of her ethnicity.

Let's face it. Filipinos and Asians are more accepted in other fields, say health care than in the world of entertaiment. Jacky Chan aged a bit before he was able to penetrate the US market. Despite the fact that the US is touting democracy and freedom of expression, etc., etc., most Americans really do favor whites, with blacks coming in second in the field of entertainment. So African-Americans, despite their complaints of being second-class citizens, are more readily embraced by most of America than their Asian counterparts.

I don't think there will be a Filipino or an Asian who will make it as the first American Idol. They will either be just semi-finalists or finalists, but never the IDOL. You see, America, which is predominantly white and then black, needs to identify with the singer or else the majority will not buy the records and we all know who the majority is.This is the reason why, even though Filipino and other Asian contestants have some form of following from their own communities, the white or black contestants get more votes. There are just too many of the latter.

American Idol is about selling records. A singer who doesn't have a wide following won't be able to sell records. That's a fact. So, sorry fellow countrymen/women. We won't see a fellow Filipino win the top spot in our lifetime unless we see a half-breed who looks more Caucasian like that member of the Pussycat Dolls (am I right about the name?) or who looks more black like that member of the Black-Eyed Peas (am I also right about this name?). It is all about looking white or black so the majority can identify with the singer. It is ironic that whites can identify with black singers and blacks can also identify with white singers. Asians can also identify with either. Unfortunately, an Asian-looking singer in the US won't have the same fan base. However, I will be quite happy to be proven wrong one day!

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