Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size

Why Contestants Go on American Idol

Is it only fame and fortune? Experts explore the motivation of American Idol contestants.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Your knees are shaking, you’re trying to decide whether Paula Abdul is flirting or smirking, when you meet Simon Cowell’s steely gaze. Uh-oh, maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

Not everyone has the talent of a Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, or Carrie Underwood. So why do people go on American Idol, the reality TV show for the show-biz obsessed?

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

Become An 'I' Specialist, Improve Yourself

By Hayley Krischer Everyone has that New Age-y person in their life who makes existential statements like, “If you don' t know yourself, you're not living." Or, "If you don't know yourself, you can't live your truth." And you’re always like, "I do know myself. I know I want a dirty martini extra olives, and I want one now." Then you get home and you ask yourself, "Why have I had three bad breakups in a year?" Or, "Why have I been so unhappy lately?" Or, "Why do I keep spending endless amounts of...

Read the Become An 'I' Specialist, Improve Yourself article > >

"I do believe some people think they have talent," Marjorie Brody, co-author of the book on networking titled You Can't Do It Alone and president of Brody Communications in Jenkintown, Pa., tells WebMD. And some do have the talent to showcase.

"The second group, I believe, are those who don't have a lot of talent and may know it, but who crave a lot of attention." People in this second group, Brody says, may think about themselves a lot but, paradoxically, may not have a lot of pride.

Brody also identifies a third group of aspirants. "I think people try out on a dare," she laughs. "I don't have evidence of that. But I think they say, 'What is the worst that can happen? I could not get on TV? I could get on but be booed off? Hey, I was on TV at least.' They are not into the vanity part of it."

Following Your Dream

David Brownstein, a certified life coach and president of Hollywood Coaching, once worked with a client who tried out for a different reality show to replace a member of the band INXS.

"I think it's healthy to go after your dream," Brownstein tells WebMD. "If you always wanted to be a singer and you're a secretary, this is one way to go after it."

Carole Lieberman, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Dreams Interrupted: Psychological Survival Guide for Coping With Terrorism, worked with contestants on Big Brother and Survivor. She tells WebMD that most people who go on American Idol want a fast track to fame. "Even if you don't win, you still get opportunities," she points out. "Just being on once gets you seen by more people than would see you in 10 years of trying to break in."

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family