The Disappointing Case of Lil Rounds

I was never a fan of Lil Rounds. Here's what I said about her initial audition, which took place in Kansas City:

The last contestant is Lil Rounds. She is a 23-year-old mother of three. A tornado made the family of five vacate their apartment. Kara likes her name. She sings "All I Do" by Stevie Wonder. Nothing special, a little out of tune, but good enough to get a pass to Hollywood. She gets out of control on the high stuff. The judges are big fans (though, they might be a little loopy after a long day).

Lil never improved a lick from that first audition, and never gave one performance I completely enjoyed. Sure, she had potential, and her voice was big and strong, but there are thousands of people like that out in the world. Why did American Idol hitch their train to Lil?

Sometimes, the aesthetics of a person can really throw you off. Lil Rounds had an outward confidence about her that fooled a lot of people. She looked like a good singer (why, I don't know, but she just did, didn't she?), and combined with that confidence Lil was bound to be over-hyped as an artist. There is a larger problem with American Idol that Lil's season perfectly encapsulates. The judges are able to skew the voting, especially early on, with disingenuous praise. Lil did not come close to deserving the big ups she received in the Top 36. Early in the season, voters are more susceptible to the judges' influence. When Simon pimped her relentlessly after her Top 36 performance, the audience shrugged and said, "Well, we better vote for Lil."

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