On the final night of American Idol auditions before Hollywood Week begins, we met young Aaron Kelly. You’d be smart to remember that name, because you’re going to be hearing it a lot over the next few months.
The sweet 16-year-old Aaron is the perfect contestant coming in at the perfect time, and I feel confident that he’ll get very far in this competition, with a strong possibility of winning the whole thing. How can I be so sure Aaron Kelly is American Idol material? All you need to do is look at the facts.
First, he already has a lock on the tween girl market. A somewhat shy, cute 16-year-old boy is exactly what they love, and tween girls power vote with text messages more than any other Idol demographic. And with their votes come the votes of their moms and the wallets of their dads.
For better or for worse, the music industry is at the mercy of tweens. Taylor Swift just won the Grammy for Album of the Year and Justin Bieber is one of the hottest up-and-coming music stars. In the past few years, Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and High School Musical have helped shift the money-making center of the music industry, and Aaron fits perfectly for American Idol.
Aaron Kelly is sure to get plenty of comparisons to David Archuleta, another tween sensation on American Idol, but I think that’s wrong. To me, Aaron is a lot more like last season’s winner, Kris Allen, because, unlike Archuleta, Aaron Kelly appears to have humility.
While Archuleta had a ton of fans, he also had a lot of people (myself included) who couldn’t stand him. He seemed a little too smug, like a kid whose been told how great he is his entire life who then tries to act humble. Archuleta’s “aw shucks” attitude never seemed believable to me, but that’s not a problem for Aaron.
Instead, Aaron Kelly comes across as earnest. I’m a crotchety TV critic whose been bored by most of the sob stories from this season, but Aaron’s got to me. He has a good head on his shoulders and nearly brought me to tears with the simple line, “I do call my aunt ‘mom,’ because the one who raised you is your mom.” There’s a simple beauty to that statement, a perfect innocence that is so rare in today’s hyper-cynical world.
Finally, Aaron Kelly’s success on American Idol will come from his potential and by knowing who he is as an artist. His audition wasn’t the best vocal we heard all year, but it was probably the best song choice. He sang Miley Cyrus‘ “The Climb,” which works on every level for him. It appeals to his demographic of tweens, it shows the judges that he can make them a ton of money by being relevant to today’s industry and it’s an inspirational song that sounds like it was written to be one of those original songs the final two contestants sing on the American Idol finale.
People don’t always decide who wins American Idol. Sometimes circumstances decide. A lot depends on where the current musical winds are blowing and what happens to be hot at the time. For this year, it’s all about new super tweens riding on the coattails of Taylor Swift. Aaron Kelly is the perfect kid coming along at the perfect time, a combination that will help him win season 9 of American Idol.
(Image courtesy of FOX)