Why I Auditioned for American Idol

    A few months ago, I was discussing some Idol anxiety with a friend who is also a singer/songwriter. After hearing my hesitations, he told me the surprisingly applicable story of Chipotle.

    Maybe you didn’t know this (I didn’t), but Chipotle’s meteoric rise to “fast-casual” ubiquity was largely initiated by massive capital investments from McDonald’s. If you are familiar with Chipotle’s mission statement of organic foods and sustainable meats, a partnership with the great Golden Arch might seem odd. But with the aid from McDonald’s, Chipotle grew from a mere 16 restaurants in 1998 to over 500 in 2005. That growth is something that Chipotle could have never accomplished on its own. (Chipotle now has more than 1600 locations and McDonald’s fully divested its stake in 2006).

    Chipotle’s burritos are fantastic, but would we all be enjoying them now if it hadn’t been for McDonald’s? This is the core reason why I decided to audition for Idol—I want to make a living as a recording artist. I enjoy making music regardless of how many people end up listening, but in order to make ends meet and create a lasting career, I need to expand my platform and bring my music to as many people as I can! This is what American Idol can do that I can’t, at least not at a comparable scale.

    And to be completely honest with you, I have nothing but positive things to say about the American Idol experience so far. The staff is friendly and extremely professional. Ryan Seacrest is the nicest man alive. Whether or not my artist career will benefit from my involvement with Idol remains to be seen, but it was a risk I was absolutely willing to take.