Daughtry: Broaden Your Base

John Podhoretz has a lesson in national politics for American Idol’s Chris Daughtry in his column today. It seems the outrage continues over Daughtry’s exit this week, and Podhoretz parallels the weekly vote cycle to presidential primaries.

He writes:

If you want to understand “Idol,” you need to understand American politics. And if you want to understand the workings of American politics, “Idol” isn’t a bad introduction to the way political coalitions are formed and elections are won.

[snip]

This winnowing process allows the most appealing candidates to pick up steam by adding new voters to their cadre of supporters. And as they do so, the field continues to be winnowed, until finally there are only one or two candidates left standing. The single-issue candidate, the flash-in-the-pan, the guy who has one fantastic debate – they may all have their moments, but in the end, the candidate with the most broad-based appeal will usually win.

And this is what explains Chris Daughtry’s stunning loss this week on “American Idol.” He has a distinctive voice and distinctive appeal. The problem is that he never broadened his base very much. If you liked him from the start, you stayed with him – which is why he remained solidly among the top contenders through most of the show’s run.

And, as in politics, Daughtry already has his first job offer.

—Nicole Brydson