05/22/08 — A new ‘Idol’: Perhaps newest soon-to-be star can be better role model

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A new ‘Idol’: Perhaps newest soon-to-be star can be better role model

OK, the results are in and America has a new “American Idol” winner.

What happens to David Cook from here is anyone’s guess. Just winning the top prize of the singing competition that has already crowned a number of recording artists turned stars is an achievement.

But not all the winners’ stories turn into paths of gold. There are several — last year’s winner, Taylor Hicks, for example — who haven’t been able to do anything with their victories. Hicks has already been dropped from his record label and did not even manage one hit song.

Others, like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, have gone on to real careers and the big bucks those contracts provide.

So what role can David Cook play as he starts his journey to a music career?

Hopefully, there will be some success for the surprise winner, who beat out 18-year-old David Archuleta, whom many thought would take home the grand prize.

But maybe there might be a little sanity, too, and the chance to be an inspiration to those who harbor dreams of being musicians or of lives in the limelight.

Cook could do a lot of good if he were to ride on a banner of hard work, realistic expectations and advising aspiring young musicians to do their homework, practice their riffs and scales — and make sure they finish school.

He can give them hope that they, too, might be one of the lucky ones, while still giving them practical skills they can fall back on just in case they aren’t the next “American Idol.”

There are thousands of hopefuls every year who head to major cities to pursue dreams of music careers. Only a handful will ever bring home a hit record.

Perhaps we could use a few more Simon Cowells in the world to help guide them back to reality and futures that might not bring gold records, but will give them a chance to survive.

That’s the kind of dream that turns into a life.

Published in Editorials on May 22, 2008 11:04 AM