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American Idol: Would You Judge Your Child?

By Monica Bielanko |

I’m due in one month. I’m never going to make it. I’m swollen, suffering through several Braxton Hicks contractions an hour and my back feels like it’s broken. But at least I can sit down on the job.

I just went to get my lunch, and the waitress at the joint I purchased my salad from is also really pregnant. I watched her hustle around, delivering meals, topping off drinks and felt guilty for bemoaning my situation.

Still, I’m gearing up for a long night at work. As you may or may not know, I work as a producer at FOX News in Salt Lake City. It’s almost like a job requirement that we watch American Idol. Seriously. We recap the show in the entertainment portion of our newscast and cross our fingers that a local (like David Archuleta) hits it big.

Utahns on American Idol translate into big ratings for our newscast. The season 10 premiere, sans Simon plus Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and everyone’s favorite dawg, Randy Jackson, is on tonight.  I guess, all things considered, sitting on my butt and watching TV is actually an ideal gig for a woman bursting with child.  Tonight, anyway.  Fingers crossed breaking news doesn’t force me into lumbering action.

Sounds like a dream job, right? Watching reality TV.  If you like American Idol. And I don’t. Except for one part. The most fascinating part. The part where the kids audition, you know, the really terrible singers whose parents have told them what AMAZING singers they are throughout their entire lives.  Does that make me a horrible person?  That I like that part instead of the part where they get to the good singers?

And that’s what’s on tonight!

It never ceases to blow my mind. These fame-hungry teens staring straight into the camera, sincerely opining about how singing is their passion and then they open their mouths and sound like a young Fran Drescher. Drunk.  On acid.

It gets me to thinking, though. Your kid loves to sing. LOVES to sing. But they can’t sing.  Rather, they don’t sing well at all.  What do you do?  Do you reinforce a false self image to be a supportive parent? Or do you gently but firmly tell them they are barking up the wrong tree? Sure, you may crush their dreams, but you may also save them a lot of heartache by being honest.

Basically what I’m wondering is: Are you Simon or are you Paula Abdul?

I wonder a lot about the little guy in my belly. Who is he? What will he be like? Will he be a musician like his papa or will he gravitate toward other endeavors? It takes me back to the question I asked before. Being a musician ain’t an easy life for 95% of those who choose to pursue that dream, even if they’re crazy talented. Would I support my boy’s rock star dreams or would I nudge him towards college?

Most importantly, with Simon gone, who will be the mean judge?

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “American Idol: Would You Judge Your Child?

  1. christine says:

    I guess I’m a Simon. It’s great for kids to pursue activities as a hobby or take random lessons in things, but when it starts to veer into a career path, I would want to tell my kid the truth. I grew up as a ballet dancer and there is a point, around 12 or 13, where it’s not a hobby anymore; it’s hardcore training. I’m pretty sure my mom asked my teachers if I should continue or not, mostly because it’s expensive as hell.

    I wonder why all those American Idol auditionees’ parents don’t tell their kids the truth. Maybe they’re tonedeaf too. Even if they couldn’t tell them to their faces, they could tell them to simply go out on the street or to the mall, with a hat, and see if they can entertain anyone. Or ask the choir director at their school (if the arts haven’t been cut altogether.) Then again, half of the (mostly women) singing on the radio today can’t sing a lick either, so I’m not sure it even matters anymore if someone has talent, right?

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