Saturday, March 15, 2008
Does former American Idol contestant Josiah Leming have what it takes to be a future superstar?
The 60s had the Beatles, the 70s had Elton John, ABBA, and others; the 80s had Michael Jackson. But it seems we haven't seen that kind of a combination of both charisma and talent in a music icon for some time. Which is what I think help explains some of the popularity of American Idol. People are searching for that next great superstar. And I think some people saw that glimmer of hope in young American Idol contestant Josiah Leming. The uniqueness and personality with the way Leming performed, the way young Josiah would connect with his piano and croon out the lines to a song like "Grace Kelly" almost like he was having a spiritual experience. That little something special, that little something extra, which is difficult to put into words, but Josiah Leming seems to have. Many American Idol fans saw, and still see greatness in Josiah Leming. So can Leming live up to these expectations? Can Josiah Leming become the star his fans are so hoping he can become?
American pop culture today for the most part today seems to be driven by the superficial and sensational. People become stars because they are good looking, or they can shock us on a regular basis, or both. However, many superstars of the past appealed to higher ideals within us. The Beatles were working class boys from Liverpool who didn't particularly stand out until you heard their music. It was their enormous talent as music artists and songwriters that ultimately made them household names, and that they wrote songs that appealed to good, ordinary people. Elton John didn't have a face that would win any beauty prizes, but it was his talent and the values of all those great John/Taupin compositions that made him a superstar. Michael Jackson and the Jacksons were poor working class people that came from nothing, and frankly Michael seemed a bit odd. But in the 80s, the public image of Jackson was not one of sensationalism, but one of humility, and that's what appealed to millions. Josiah Leming has the same qualities that made these other stars so great.
"I knew from a young age that I wasn't going to be like everyone else," Josiah Leming said in an MTV interview, "I was made fun of a lot as a kid. I was kind of overweight, teeth all messed up, I had glasses. I had a very small, high, weak voice. And I never had too many friends, so it forced me into doing music. The thing I love about the piano is that it'll never let you down, you can always rely on it. It's not going to make fun of the way you talk or the fact that you can't catch a ball, and whenever you need it, it's always going to be there. It was my best friend in the world, really. It's been more of a friend to me than anything else." (source: www.mtv.com)
And this is what is so great about both American Idol, and Josiah Leming. Ultimately, it's what's inside that counts. Yes, Josiah Leming didn't ultimately make it to the Top 24, but he messed up the "Stand by Me" audition, and it wouldn't have been fair to the other contestants to give him a pass. However, as one door was closed in Josiah's face, many others were opened, and I'm sure we'll be hearing many great things from Josiah Leming in the future. (Josiah Leming has a myspace page which he runs himself where you can hear some of his music at myspace.com/josiahleming.)
Josiah Leming on Ellen Degeneres:
Josiah Leming singing "Grace Kelly":
Josiah Leming "One Last Song":