Recently, I started watching American Idol and besides seeing James Durbin voted off last night, I have enjoyed the show thus far. However, if you asked me to name the winners from any of the previous seasons, the only one I could think of without cheating using Google, would be Carrie Underwood (and it's not just because I recently saw her cheering on our competition during the hockey playoffs).
All kidding aside, it seems like a pretty gruelling process to make it to the finale of Idol - they work and train almost everyday, anywhere from 3 to 4 months and are forced to live away from home for the duration. They are subjected to constructive criticism after each performance and if they can't figure out the fine line of adapting as an artist while staying true to their direction then America deems them unworthy and sends them home.
So, why can't I remember any of the seasons previous winners - besides the fact that I didn't watch the shows, I think it's because most of the contestants believe they've made it when they've won. Reality is, the real work is just beginning and Idol is the training wheels. Winning Idol provides the opportunity to the contestants to make a career but it's up to them to do the work. Which is why I am not devastated that James didn't make it to the finale - he seems like someone who's willing to put in the work for a career instead of just a win.