Why Watching American Idol is Making Me a Better Leader

Last year I thought American Idol was officially over. Apparently the "Farewell Season" wasn't the end of the road. Because it's back. After a few year break from American Idol, I jumped back on the bandwagon last year because I was there for the beginning of American Idol, and I wanted to be there at the end. I actually remember being a freshman in college and sprinting home from my night class in order to see if Kelly Clarkson was going to win American Idol Season 1.

Yes, it's different than it used to be, but it is certainly still enjoyable for me. Not because I think the talent is anywhere near where it used to be (although this current season is catching me by surprise - the talent level has risen compared to the last few years!), but because I love watching shows like American Idol, America's Got Talent, and The Voice, because I love listening to the judges give feedback and respond to someone sharing their gift. It’s making me a better leader.

You are probably wondering what in the world I am talking about…

Well… I was listening to a friend of mine run through a talk she was going to give the following day. She asked me for feedback. And the first thing that popped into my head was the exact thing Keith Urban said to a contestant last year on American Idol (this is funny I realize that). And then his exact words came spilling out of my mouth, because there was so much truth in what he had said. It resonated with her as much as it resonated with me. That’s when it dawned on me that I was learning the language of feedback by watching judges like Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Lionel Richie.

Learning the language of feedback meaning, I am collecting words and phrases to describe and communicate what I observe.

Let me give you an example of some of the gold I have collected:

“There is a beautiful quote that says, “I judge myself not by what I have, but by what I am willing to give.” And what you just gave was pure humanity, it was beautiful.” Keith Urban

“Every time you sing I am urged to consider the song from a completely different perspective. You know exactly how to give the song a beginning, a middle, and an end.” Harry Connick Jr.

“One of the hardest things about feedback, is getting feedback for something that you do really well. Because, when you hear that over and over again it’s really hard to not be conscious of it. And when you become conscious of it, you wreck it. You have somehow managed to never be conscious of it, and it’s beautiful because you remain a portal for the gift.” Keith Urban

“The coolness factor & the voice…. that box is checked. Now you gotta let them connect with your heart.” Keith Urban

“There is a difference between laid back and captivating. You need a little bit more urgency.” Jennifer Lopez

“If you can come into your own and start believing in yourself like you just did, and thinking “I can do this,” and letting go, and living in the moment…you are dangerous.” Jennifer Lopez

“Instead of choosing songs that are good for your voice, choose songs that make your heart sing.” Jennifer Lopez

"If you have to think about what you are doing, don't do it. Just be you." Lionel Richie 

"It's not about where you come from, but what you grow into." Katy Perry

"This was the only performance which stands up in the real world -- tonight you were the standard." Simon Cowell

Good stuff right?

It’s encouraging, and applicable to any ministry setting I have ever been in. Who knew that by watching American Idol I would learn how to better cheer someone on, and call someone up.

What about you?

Who's watching American Idol, The Voice, or American's Got Talent this season? 

And most importantly, what's been some of the best feedback you've observed? 



Ashley Bohinc