Back in 2004, a young Jennifer Hudson was voted off American Idol’s Season 4. Despite her impressive rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” during the prior week, America chose 6 other contestants to advance into the top spots. Now, almost 9 years later, Hudson’s career has far surpassed those of any of her fellow contestants’ careers –even the singer that won, Fantasia Barrino. Hudson’s success took off when she starred in Dreamgirls. Now Hudson sports a Grammy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Academy Award…just to name a few.
So what’s the moral of the story? Well, when it comes to TV shows, America’s voters don’t always know best. Success isn’t handed out on a platter in the music industry. A singer may have an incredible voice, but without the proper work ethic — the do what you have to do to make it type — chances are, that singer won’t have a long successful career.
Fast forward to 2013, another controversial vote occurred last week during America’s The Voice. Judith Hill, mainly known for working with Michael Jackson in preparation of his “This is It” Tour, was voted off the show. Ironically enough, America chose 6 other contestants to move into the next round, the exact number of contestants that advanced past Jennifer Hudson.
Judith Hill’s presence on the show has been fairly controversial. Many argue that she is already a professional, and that the show should be about amateurs trying to make it big. But when asked about why she went on The Voice, Judith Hill answered with a very different reason:
“I had all sorts of weirdos coming at me [with possibly shady offers], and I didn’t know who to trust. I was kind of overwhelmed. You know, a lot of people may promise you the world or say certain things. I did get into a few different situations, and I learned quickly that these people weren’t right for me or they had other motives that weren’t clean. I learned a lot. It was good to go through that process and realize that I’ve got to be careful.”
Shows like American Idol and The Voice give artists opportunities to not only develop their style and character, but to also gain a huge fan base. This gives them leverage. As opposed to auditioning for a record label, which has substantial power in determining how artists should be “shaped” to sell records, successful artists from The Voice are already recognized by the world–a world that is waiting for a new album. Last week, Judith Hill performed her own rendition of Will.i.am’s “That Power” (see below). Some could argue that it was an even better version than the original. Unlike many of the other contestants who looked nervous and awkward on stage, Hill graced America with her unique style, big hair, and amazing musicianship. Yet, for some reason, she was voted off.
So we have to wonder if Hill gained enough leverage to guide her own career and avoid the “weirdos,” despite being voted off early. Only time will tell, but if I had to put money on it, I’d say that she may just wind up with a few more Grammys that Jennifer Hudson herself.