Finding your next American Idol Part II: Idol overlooked?

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Posted by Mindy Fineout

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January 24, 2011

Earlier, I talked about the importance of judging a contestant, or candidate, on their ability to do the job at hand (or in the case of Jacee Badeaux on American Idol, sing the song at hand). On last week's episode in New Orleans, there is one contestant who might have been shown the door too quickly.

Gabriel Franks, who looks like the would-be love child of Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger, badly performed "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. After his performance, the headlines buzzed, calling him "the curse of New Orleans," and "just plain bad."

He walked into the room looking like a natural rock star, so already expectations were high. But two things hurt him: He had a quirky, nervous personality, and poor song choice. After watching his performance and the judges' mockery that ensued, I paused, rewound and watched again.

Yes, his eyes rolled back in his head in a way that made him look possessed while he sang. And yes, his moves were awkward, but overall, was he as bad as everyone is saying? Or was "Bad Romance" just a bad choice? Lady Gaga is a tough choice that hits about six octaves. Had Franks gone with a more traditional song with less of a range -- a safer bet -- could things have ended more in his favor?

Sometimes hiring managers overlook talent based on the answer to a single question that throws an entire interview. I wished that Steven Tyler, who did mention something about a bad song choice, had asked Franks to sing another song or come back next year with a different song, rather than issue a flat out no.

The results could have been different. An interview, like an audition, is only a small view into a person's capabilities. Sometimes it's necessary to look beyond how a candidates answers a question, and give them another chance to showcase their abilities.

I'm not saying I think Franks was going to be the next American Idol, but I do think some of his talent was overlooked. We often make that same mistake when hiring. Sometimes candidates make poor song choices in their auditions. Hopefully hiring managers can see that that doesn't always mean they are bad singers.

If you missed Franks' audition last week (or are a glutton for punishment), you can watch below.

Topics: Staff Management, HR Strategies

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