Norwegian Idol winner Kurt Nilsen earned the World Idol title on New Year’s Day. If you didn’t hear him sing “Beautiful Day” on the Christmas telecast of World Idol, you owe it to yourself to hear it. But he didn’t have the image supposedly required to win. Instead, he has the talent to win it.
“I wasn’t taunted (by the judges) so badly. None of them got me for the song. And it seems that those who voted for me ignored the jokes about my looks. People are beginning to understand that it isn’t just glamour that sells any more, but the opposite. People listen to the music, the song, and that was lucky for me,” Nilsen said.
Kurt showed class in his performance and acceptance of remarks like “Middle-earth Idol”. He represented the image of a true star. He showed his emotions and shock at winning most of the World Idol votes. He was in happy disbelief.
Kelly Clarkson sat by him, getting visibly madder after the announcement of each country’s vote. I suspect that she’d been told that World Idol would be a three-hour commercial for her greatness. She’d even get a trophy.
With a smug attitude, she trudged through the whole affair, which spilled over to the post-show atmosphere. This article from The Province describes Kelly Clarkson’s post-show escapades surrounding Kurt’s win. While I disagree with the writer taking cheap shots at Americans, he explains the debacle well. Specifically, the writer points out:
An embrace with Nilsen might’ve given Kelly a guest spot on Kurt’s upcoming album. After all, he coughed up the coin to fly all the way from Norway to New York — his first American trip — just to see her sing at Giants Stadium last year.
Being nice to people isn’t a good career move. It’s common decency and happy results flow from that. As the writer states, Clay Aiken is a perfect example of how to be the runner-up in an Idol contest. He showed dignity, class, and humor in defeat.
With that background and his performance on World Idol, Danielle and I ordered Kurt’s cd, titled I, from Zailor.com. The site is in Norwegian, so we were intimidated at first, but quickly took to the joy of navigating a language we did not know. After a few mistakes, we completed the order and planned to wait several weeks for the shipment. Less than a week later, Zailor delivered the cds, which is faster than I receive shipments from web sites in the U.S. Of course, when the credit card bill arrives, we’ll probably see that we spent $40 for expedited shipping but it’s great service.
Having listened to the cd, even though it’s impossible to ignore, I’m going to exclude the word “debut” from my praise. This is one of the best albums I’ve heard. Ever. The songs flow and he wrote most of the songs, so he understands them and saturates the album with emotion. That it’s his debut makes it more impressive. This is an example of how to make a great record. (He released an EP called Come Down Here with his band Fenrik Lane.)
His album gives me hope that we’re getting back to the “good old days”, when talent mattered more than image. The music industry’s main concern is not online song-swapping. That’s a consumer reaction to the real issue. Nobody makes albums anymore. Instead, every record company marketing whiz demands a collection of three video singles and seven throw-away songs.
That’s a shame, because there is still good music available and that’s all I want. Looks may matter most to the coveted teen market, though I choose to give them more respect, but there are consumers who want good music more than anything. If there’s any justice, Kurt’s album will prove that in the U.S. market.
Finally, my Kurt appreciation grows for reasons other than music. I love hearing people speak English when it’s not their native language. Thanks to Kurt, I have a new saying. Referring to the sudden change in his life, he said this: “And that means that I need to have a think.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.