Relax your shoulders and keep it real

I’m a big fan of American Idol. I’m not so hooked on the singers or even the format per se, but I love what the show can teach all of us about likeability.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing radio interviews, making predictions about who would win this year and more importantly, who would NOT win.

Here’s my belief: If you want to win American Idol or the race for American president, you must have the likeability factor. It is the tie-breaker in life. If you lack emotional appeal, your talent or experience will make you a runner up — not a winner.

Last night American Idol sent home Melinda Doolittle. I’ve been predicting for three months that she would be in the final three, but lose. Why? She’s got zero personality. She hunches her shoulders (sending a signal that she is not inviting) and feigns false modesty. She was also the best tecnical singer by a country mile. But talent is never enough. At the end of the day, you need to stand up straight, open up your body language and let your personality shine through. Learn a lesson from this season about what it takes to gain the likeability factor from the two finalists:
* Jordan — She shows empathy for the songs she sings. When she sang Wishing On A Star on Tuesday, she sang it to a real person who she loved and lost. You could see it in her eyes and hear the emotion in her voice. Much like Fantasia won our hearts with empathy a few years ago when she emoted Summertime from Porgy and Bess, Jordan bared her sould for us and we liked her for it. Prediction: Winner this season.
* Blake — He is a beatboxer and is not afraid to abuse it. He has stuck with what makes him different and it defines him and makes us root for him. Sometimes, people are too flexible and too mallable. Eventually, we don’t know who they are. In my book, The Likeability Factor, I stressed keeping it real and standing your ground. Prediction: Lose in the final, but win over time with a big record and maybe a hot band that reminds us of 311 or Sugar Ray.