Season ten of American Idol is well underway, and I’m glued to my television for every moment of every episode – as usual. I was excited to see all but one of my favorites make it into the finals last night. For the past nine years, I have made my little fingers go numb every Tuesday and Wednesday as I voted for my weekly choice over and over. I am not someone who chooses one person and then rabidly votes for them each week. I am a music fanatic… I truly HEAR each note and I vote for the person I feel gave the best performance during that round. It breaks my heart when someone I am rooting for has an off week. However, I vote with my conscience. I don’t know these people. I simply judge them based on that week’s song. However, could that change this year with the foray of Idol into the social media world I live in?
Earlier today, Ryan Seacrest announced the Idol finalists’ jump onto Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Each of the contestants had an account set up for them, and they are all busy learning the ropes so that they can provide daily updates along their journey. I admit I was excited to have James follow me on Twitter earlier today, and to have Casey send me a reply on the popular microblogging site! I was already a fan of both guys prior to these little “events,” but it dawned on me that my level of enthusiasm grew once that connection had been made.
This made me realize that social media could completely change the Idol landscape this year. By reaching out to us on a personal level and letting us into their lives beyond a song they belt out, the contestants are making real connections with the viewers. This can – and WILL – have a huge impact on the outcome of the voting each week.
Let’s say, for instance, you are a fan of one of the girls due to her amazing voice. Then, you stumble upon Paul’s very active Twitter stream and start following him. Paul isn’t simply throwing out an obligatory “I’m rehearsing today” message. He’s opening himself up, and letting us get to know who he is. This type of connection can certainly change the way you look at him the next time he’s on the Idol stage. Perhaps he and your earlier favorite both sing well… which one will you vote for? You’ll push the buttons (or click the mouse!) on the person whom you feel you’ve connected with.
Randy Jackson can remind us that it’s a “singing competition” until he is blue in the face. Up until now, I have always agreed with him on that point. However, I truly believe that the implementation of social media this year is going to rock the foundation of the show in a positive way. Kudos to the person at Idol who had this genius idea and to the contestants for braving the scary social media landscape – many of them for the first time.
For any of you Idols who are a still a little afraid of the Twitter waters, give me a shout sometime. I’d be happy to help you find your way around!