VOCM is reporting that a gambling website is putting Craig Sharpe as a 3-to-1 underdog for winning Canadian Idol this evening. The same site also offers the wonderful assessment that Sharpe's only chance is based on the voting of "fanatical Newfoundland fans".
This brings up two points:
First, the longer Canadian Idol goes on, the more disturbed I am by the province's reaction to it. Yes, if you're related to one of the contestants (and as I've discovered recently, some of my in-laws are) then I can understand going crazy about this. Yes, I like to see Newfoundlanders go out and do well in the world. I'm even supportive of those with marginal talents and abilities because it's hard to get a break sometimes when you live in Newfoundland.
And hell, the first year or two that Canadian Idol was on, it was kind of fun to see people rally and try to get performers like Jenny Gear and Jason Greeley further along in the competition. It felt like trying to rig the contest and play a joke on the Mainlanders. It was misguided Newfoundland patriotism, but mostly harmless.
But this is getting a bit creepy and weird now, folks.
It's a reality show talent contest. And people are freaking out about it. Every story I read about organized groups hitting every pay phone on the Avalon Peninsula and the near impossibility of calling long distance in or out of Newfoundland on nights when Sharpe is singing is a bit weird.
Surely God people have better things to do. Really. Come on. You must. It's time to let this go. Next year, just ignore the damn show. Channel your energies into something useful. Like, I don't know, charity work. Or going to see some musicians who actually play in St. John's and who could certainly use the support.
Secondly, and I realizing I'm dipping in the dark and scary waters of commenting on a show that I have just mocked for having crazed fans, is that Sharpe probably doesn't deserve to win if based on the criteria of the show. That being not only great singing ability, but also personality, charisma and the ability to be a "star."
Yes, he has a great (although very freaky) voice. But he's entirely too young and inexperienced and is being propelled far above where he ought to be, or where I even think he can handle it, by insane Newfoundlanders. If you wanted to put a picture in to describe what the phrase "deer caught in the headlights" would look like, you might as well put Sharpe's picture there from the last few weeks. I haven't followed the show every week this year, not even close. But the last couple of times I watched my reaction was "that kid looks like he's about to crap in his pants he's that terrified." The chick looks like she's having a blast.
If he had waited another three years to do the show, hell, two years, then maybe. But folks, Sharpe is not your Great (very) White Bayman Hope. He will not bring home the Idol crown. And if by some miracle, then what? The odds of this translating into any kind of success in the Canadian music industry are still daunting if previous experience is any indication.
I'll pick the top 10 of the previous three years. That's 30 people. Of those maybe, maybe five of them have any kind of national success. And very limited national success. We'll see how some of them do once their second records come out. They might just vanish without a trace like the rest of the failed Idol contestants.
This isn't unique to Canada, by the way. Most of the American Idol finalists have also tanked once the show ends. That guy who won this year has "Vanished" written all over him.
If Sharpe is good enough, and he may well be in a few years, then he'll make it. Funny thing about the really talented; they often manage to find their way without the help of crazy people and their shows.