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'American Idol' shows America's preference for nice

By Rachel Hixon

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Aug. 15 2011 4:32 p.m. MDT

In this publicity image released by Fox, Lauren Alaina, second left, reacts as she learns she will be one of the final three contestants on the singing competition series "American Idol," as fellow contestants Haley Reinhart, left, Scotty McCreery, center, James Durbin and host Ryan Seacrest, right, look on, Thursday, May 12, 2011 in Los Angeles.

Associated Press

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Bless "American Idol." It has restored my faith in humanity.

Two years ago, when the sweet and darling Kris Allen beat out Adam Lambert, millions of fans sat on their couches shellshocked. And then there sat the rest of us who nodded and cheered the reality of a simple truth, nice and humble will beat out talent any day of the week.

Don't get me wrong — I think Allen is oozing with talent, but I don't think that is why he won.

Year after year "American Idol" tells us the real story behind the music. Each season the most talented person in the competition is disqualified long before the confetti falls and the lights go out in the Kodak Theatre. This year was no different.

When Haley Reinhart was voted off, she sang her final hurrah, clearly proving that her talent was far superior to the remaining duo. The girl has pipes that are un-be-leevable.

So what was her demise?

It was the same demise of so many in years past — her attitude. Those faithful, talented kids who watch year after year after year in the hopes of winning the Idol prize, one day need to realize the thread that winds itself through to the finale each year is "nice."

Humble and nice win every time.

Haley, in general, was nice. But one snotty look or one snap back at the judges can turn the whole USA on you. Remember that moment when Haley's face betrayed her. It was obvious that she was less than thrilled with the judges' comments and felt deserving of better. That moment sealed her fate. I knew it the second it happened.

America doesn't forget. In a split second, a sour seed was planted in our hearts. We don't even know it until we are faced with a choice, and America knows genuine. Faking nice doesn't fly. America sees right through it.

Think about it: Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard, Lee DeWyze, Allen, David Cook and Jordin Sparks were all nice. Were there any more humble than they were?

Kids who were genuinely grateful for the opportunity to just be along for the ride. No attitude of "I belong here." I remember Simon Cowell telling contestants that they needed to act like they believed they could win the competition to actually win it. I disagree. A huge dollop of humility and a pretty nice voice will win every time. Ten years has proven that.

Thank you, America. Thanks for restoring my faith in the reality of who we are and what we stand for. A true American idol (as if there is such a thing) isn't someone with a great voice and a big ego. It's someone who comes from humble beginnings and rises to the top all the while keeping their egos in check.

Think of the competition between David Archuleta and David Cook moment. Does America pick nice or nice?

No matter what, nice and humble has risen to the top yet again.

Thank you, America.

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