As season 10 of American Idol, America's most popular show, begins its debut across the U.S., on a mission to find the next Madonna or (dare I say it) Justin Bieber, the formula remains the same. America will watch as the weird, wild, and wonderful try to wow the judges into handing them the coveted golden ticket and get them to say those four magical words: "You're going to Hollywood!"
In last night's episode, New Orleans didn't disappoint and some surprising talent was discovered. The biggest surprise of the night was a chubby-cheeked, baby-faced 15-year-old named Jacee Badeaux. No, he doesn't look like the typical pop star, and yes, his appearance alone might have initially caused you to drop your expectations. But after he opened his mouth and let out the first line of Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," the only thing to drop was your jaw.
He was the kind of crooner that caused you to close your eyes and wish the song would never end. And when he was done, he held the golden ticket and became the biggest surprise, and biggest hopeful to win the 2011 competition.
If America had to go off of first impressions and decide, song unheard, who would be moving on, the soon-to-be star would have been sent home, and America would miss hearing the sweet melodic warmth and sincerity sung with every chorus of "watching the tide roll away." Luckily for us, the competition is what it is -- a talent competition to find the best voice and turn one lucky winner into a star.
My hope is that when hiring managers look for their next "Idol" in the workplace, they give each candidate interviewing the same chance that Jacee had, and judge each for what they can bring to the table. This means sometimes having to look beyond first impressions and snap judgments with an open mind. It's the only way to assure that the golden ticket goes to the best candidate.