Guest Post: Sorry, I did not know American Idol is also the Olympics

Talent is something never to be taken for granted. It should be personally recognized, nurtured, and developed. To give the world a chance to witness something one has worked on for many years is truly a blessing.

TV shows have provided us a reasonable means to enjoy a multitude of individual and collective skills one has never thought were possible. We have countless variations of America’s Got Talent and American Idol, impressing us, the audience, and even their competitors.

Every time someone of Filipino ancestry comes out in a show like American Idol (AI), Filipinos go bananas, as if they’re related and are just one phone call away. Most of the time, the lineage of that person overshadows the talent she has.

Our brains work this way: If Filipino, then support.

Hey, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, this isn’t the Olympics. AI is not London 2012. If the other contestant obviously has more talent and is better at what she does, she deserves the attention. We tend to ignore that just because “the other one is Filipino.”

I remember seeing someone on my Facebook feed posting how she is pissed that Filipinos in America were not voting for Jessica Sanchez. Sanchez, who almost got the boot after failing to receive enough votes, was eventually “saved” by the judges who kept her in the show. The truth of the matter is, Filipinos aren’t expected to vote for her just because she is Filipino-American. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

I, for one, am entitled to vote for who I think performs the best on that stage. Jessica is wonderful, but I may have a different opinion. I should not be crucified for that.

We get so excited that she might win it all, but the fact is she won’t even be marketable. I can’t even think of the last time an American-born Pacific Islander became a mainstream icon in a Western culture. Why else did former AI finalist Jasmine Trias, pop star Jay-R and others come to Philippines? We fail to recognize that the world seeing how great she is could be enough.

Ultimately, they are Americans. Filipino by bloodline, but, legally, they are American citizens. Why do we do this? Why do we feel like we need to attach ourselves to them?

The answer is the same reason people of the lower class are hooked on to Wowowee. It’s not them, so they’re happy someone else is doing it for them. That is fine, but when people are looking at it as some type of international battle and not a contest of individual talent, that’s when they have to think hard and look at themselves again.

In the end, it’s a money-making competition on  TV and the rest of the Philippines has some “reforming of the mind” to do.
(Thx, Ervin!)