Solid Advice on Asking…From “American Idol”?

As much as it may pain me to admit it here, I watch “American Idol“. I enjoy living vicariously through the candidates (the ones who get through to Hollywood, of course!), and listening to the comments from the judges. Every so often there is a great nugget that can be used by the vast majority of us who will never be in the Top 12 (or 14, or 150…). Last night, two such nuggets came from my (usually) least favorite judge, Kara DioGuardi. First, she was commenting on the former-Barney-kid-turned-dominatrix who sang an En Vogue song, Erica Rhodes. What she liked about the performance was that this woman was completely and totally herself. Erica fully embraced and embodied her desire to be viewed as a true grown-up, not just a grown-up Barney kid. Oh yeah, and she could sing. The point is, the skill took a back seat the fact that Erica fully believed in herself. Kara’s second important statement of the evening was directed at Christian Spear. This 16-year-old is an 8-year cancer survivor, who blew through Etta James’s, “All I Could Do Was Cry”. After the other members of the judging panel sang the praises of Christian’s skill, Kara said (something like), “You performed utterly without fear. Your confidence is amazing in a person of your age.” Erica and Christian had less than a minute to get their points across to the judging panel. If Kara can pick up on their inner confidence (and, presumably, other contestants’ lack of confidence) in that short a time, don’t you think that your prospects can get the same vibe from...