Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Excessive Weight Of American Idol's Sligh May Lead To An Early Goodbye

Chris Sligh has the vocal talent, but will his obesity become a liability

Have you been watching Season 6 of the hottest show on television today--American Idol! You just gotta love a program like this where the dreams of being a famous music superstar are almost immediately realized overnight if you are fortunate enough to make it into the final 24 contestants with 30+ million people watching you each week.

Just look at what happened on Tuesday night's show this week.

Did you see that adorable little girl who started crying her eyes out when the singers were performing? These contestants have barely even been in the spotlight performing on television for about two months now and they have already developed a fan base of "groupies" following their every move and "Idol"izing them enough to cry over their singing! Only in America!

One of the reasons I am watching this season is to see my fellow Upstate of South Carolina resident Chris Sligh, who hails from Greenville which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from my hometown of Spartanburg, perform and cheer him on to become the next American Idol. He certainly has the chops for this competition, although I personally think Blake the Bodacious-Beatboxer and Melinda Doolittle the Background-Singer-No-More will both give him a run for his money.

With that said, though, I am and have been concerned about one thing regarding Chris since he first started progressing through the competition--his hard to ignore excessive weight problem. Yep, if you haven't noticed it before, Chris Sligh is pretty fat along with that now-famous big curly hair of his. If the tens of millions of people who are voting in American Idol can look past the image of Chris Sligh and judge him on his singing, then he may have a shot.

But at some point I believe his obesity will become a severe liability. I noticed somebody was holding up a sign on Tuesday night that said "Bringing Chubby Back" while Chris was singing, but I'm not so sure about that sentiment. While the "fat acceptance" movement people will probably enthusiastically agree with that statement and tell him to not be ashamed of his large size, the reality is Sligh's looks will begin to hurt him more than help him at some point no matter how good he sings.

Plus, remember this is a television show looking for someone who a record label can put out there in the public eye as a marketable product. At least with Clay Aiken, they got rid of the nerdy glasses and helped him look as polished as that beautiful singing voice he has. For Chris Sligh, it's gonna take some weight loss that livin' la vida low-carb could help him with. Unfortunately for him, it won't be quick enough to help him before his American Idol experience comes to an end.

While I'm confident Chris won't be going home for several more weeks at least, I don't think he'll get past the top five precisely because of his weight. The fact is there are prettier people left in the competition who sing almost as good as he does. When it comes down to it, looks will play a part as we saw the year Carrie Underwood won. She's awesome and has gone on to do extraordinary things in her short career so far, but would she have beaten Bo Bice if she wasn't a gorgeous blonde?

I sincerely hope Chris Sligh does endure to the end to make it into the final two, but I feel safe in predicting he at the very least he should outlast Sanjaya (if this kid doesn't go home tonight, then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with this show!). The 17-year old Indian boy reminds me of another young teenaged contestant named John a few years back with the red hair and sang like a lounge singer.

Remember him? He kept getting in the bottom two week after week (like Sanjaya) and even beat out Jennifer Hudson to the shock of everyone to reach the top 5. Of course, he was booted out the next week, but people accused the show of being racist and thought Jennifer Hudson got cheated. In the end it all worked out since Ms. Hudson was recently given the Academy Award for Best Supporting Role for her performance in the movie Dreamgirls. See, it all works out in the end.

Although American Idol does not judge the contestants on their weight and it is possible for contestants who have been overweight on the show like Ruben Studdard (who has since lost a lot of weight on a vegetarian diet) and Underwood (who has DEFINITELY lost weight for whatever reason since she won--I thought she looked better BEFORE her weight loss), it still leaves the question about the long-term implications of whether being fat will hurt Chris Sligh when all is said and done.

In this incredibly superficial world we live in, I'm afraid at some point it will.

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Blogger Suzique said...

I love Chris Sligh--but don't forget about Lakisha Jones, one of the frontrunners, who's a Big Beautiful Woman and probably has bigger weight issues (no pun intended) than Chris. And top contenders Jordin Sparks and, to a lesser exent, Melinda Doolittle, are not little wispy girls.

3/22/2007 9:59 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Good points, Suzique! But there is a double-standard in place for women and even African-American women (and men) than a Caucasian male like Chris Sligh.

How many overweight or obese white men do you know who are successful in the music industry? Anyone? And yet there are many overweight or obese women and African-Americans.

Hopefully Chris can overcome these kind of odds.

3/22/2007 10:16 AM  

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