But it's not just the talent that makes me love American Idol. It's also what we learn about those who audition. Some have amazing life stories, while others seem to have led pretty average lives. While everyone with talent can't make it to the top, those who are unwilling to work never make it. It's not enough to have the talent. Hard work and perseverance are needed as well.
As we follow the American Idol hopefuls through the auditions, to Hollywood Week, to Group Week, and all through to the top ten, we see how hard those who make it have worked. Sure, some hard workers don't make it, but none of the slackers get very far.
Another thing we see in American Idol is the character of the hopefuls. Some of them are talented, but their characters leave something to be desired. They are unpleasant, egotistical, selfish, and demanding. I don't recall any such person ever making it to the top ten. Most of them are weeded out when they have to work with a group and perform as a group. A few unpleasant ones make it past that week, but not much longer.
So what are the lessons we can all learn from American Idol? Talent alone won't guarantee success; hard work is also required. Competition is good, but it's not necessary to be egotistical. In fact, egotism seems to be a negative. Humility coupled with talent and effort seems to be what it takes. These are excellent lessons for everyone, but they can be especially useful for gifted kids.