You Don’t Have To Win To Win

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    There is a song titled “Everybody Loves a Winner,” and there is a lot of truth in those words. But it is also true that a first place finish is not mandatory for success.

    Nowhere is that more evident than “American Idol.” In the show’s eight seasons, a number of first place finishers have gone on to major stardom, but so, too, have a surprisingly large number of finalists who placed further down the list.

    A key example is Jennifer Hudson. She was one of “the divas” of Season 3. (Amiable host Ryan Seacrest gave the “diva” designation to Hudson, LaToya London and Fantasia).

    Despite her talent and solid performances, Hudson ended up with a seventh place finish, much to the surprise of many viewers.

    Fantasia ultimately won and, as expected, became a star, but Hudson landed a leading role in the film version of “Dreamgirls,” proved to be a strong actress and subsequently won an Academy Award in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category.

    In addition, her debut album, “Jennifer Hudson,” was certified Gold and went on to earn a Grammy.

    LaToya London has done well as a recording artist and stage actress, as has Diana DiGarmo. George Huff has also achieved a level of success, primarily doing gospel music.

    RIGHT NOW, Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert is a red-hot attraction. The courageous, unpredictable, self-confident, colorful, gender-bending glam rock singer is also the subject of many conversations. No matter. Superstardom is a certainty. And even though talented and personable Kris Allen won the competition, the real winner was Adam Lambert.

    Another sure bet for success from that season is teenaged rocker Allison Iraheta.

    Season 5 was particularly fruitful. Taylor Hicks, the highly animated, prematurely gray, blue-eyed soul man most recently seen in the stage musical “Grease,” won, but he was up against a lot of formidable talent.

    Chris Daughtry, with his band Daughtry, has become a major rock star. His debut album, “Daughtry,” went multi-Platinum and the band took home the coveted Best New Artist Grammy. Their latest album, “Leave This Town,” will reach the 500,000 Gold mark very soon.

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