Common Sense: The voice in your head sometimes might not be yours

By Brent Davis, editor

Another season of American Idol has begun. The early shows of each season are filled with teasers of the good singers that made it through to Hollywood. However, most people tune in at this point to see the rejects and how they react to being told their effort was "karaoke" or "pitchy" or only to be heard in a lounge on a cruise ship. It has been several years since I watched American Idol, but I never could understand how these singers confused the judges comments with their perceived talent.
Then it hit me. The key word here is "perceived." Imagine this scenario.
The next contestant walks to her spot before the judges, waiting to begin her audition. "What's your name, dog?" asks Randy. "I'm Krystal." the contestant responds, smiling her best Ultra Brite smile. She is from the Ozark mountains and her parents both had two jobs so that she could take singing lessons with Norma Dale Simmons over in the biggest city outside her small town of 198 people. Norma was first runner-up in the Lincoln High School talent contest back in '63. "She's been teaching voice ever since." says Krystal "and she would have won first place, except the girl that won sang 'God Bless America' while tap-dancing and twirling a baton. She was a triple threat."
Krystal goes on to explain that she has been singing since she was two-years old. She sang in the church choir and performed at rodeos.
"What are you going to sing for us today?" asks Maria. "I'm gonna sing 'I Will Always Love You' by Whitney Houston." replies Krystal. Anyone who has ever watched even one season of American Idol knows that you don't sing Whitney Houston. Randy doesn't like it.
Krystal proceeds with her full-blown rendition of the Whitney Houston classic (originally performed by Dolly Parton). We see Randy and the full panel of judges making faces, trying to hide their laughter and generally embarrassing Krystal before her very eyes.
"I'm sorry." says Randy. "That was all over the place. It wasn't good, dog." Krystal gets four no's. She isn't going to Hollywood.
Outside the audition area, Krystal launches a barrage of profanity that would make Norma Dale blush and her parents lock the doors. "I'll show them." says Krystal. "They will be sorry they didn't pick me. They don't know nothin'!" she yells as her middle finger is blotted out with an American Idol emblem.
We sit and wonder where is the disconnect between reality and our own perceptions.
The disconnection is in our head. Whenever we sing, we hear the artist singing the song. In Krystal's case, she heard Whitney Houston instead of Krystal from the backwoods of southern Missouri. The voice we hear in our head is our dream. Sometimes it is our reality, but more times than not, it isn't.
With this paradigm in mind, can we extrapolate this situation into areas such as our own personal views, athletic abilities and political views? Of course we can.
We aren't always as good at things as we think we are. Our words aren't always a fluent and persuasive as we perceive them to be. Our leadership skills are not at the level we hope them to be. This holds true for everyone, even columnists.
However, the situation in which this particular disconnect is most obvious is any time we think we can do a British accent when our Southern twang is impossible to overcome.
Give it up. As they say, that dog won't hunt!

Brent Davis can be reached at