Sunday’s special post-football American Idol telecast was a normal audition show in most respects, if one accounts for the fact that it took place aboard an aircraft carrier. But one of the young hopefuls was different in having a significant connection to show business – so significant that it is raising questions about whether she should even be allowed to compete.
Jane Carrey, the 24-year-old daughter of Jim Carrey, was given the yellow ticket to Hollywood after her audition, which in her case means she’s heading to a city she already knows very well. No one really thought she wouldn’t get through (on the new Idol, successful auditions are featured much more often that lousy ones), but eyebrows went up nonetheless, because Jane’s singing voice, while decent enough, does not appear to be exceptional. And there’s the uncomfortable fact that Jim Carrey and judge Jennifer Lopez know each other from having worked together on In Living Color back in the day – J. Lo even said she remembered the toddler Jane hanging around the set.
Questions have been raised in the past about the “fairness” of allowing singers who had once had record deals to try out for Idol, or singers who might themselves be unknown but have a family link to the music business, like Season Five’s Paris Bennett (whose grandmother was a major figure in gospel). Other contestants have had prominent relatives who weren’t singers, such as Season Six champ Jordin Sparks (whose father played in the NFL) and Season Four’s Nikko Smith (whose father is baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith). But Jane Carrey’s situation is on a different level entirely.
The major argument against someone like Jane being allowed to audition is that if she had ability, surely she could use her father’s connections to help her get her break, while most Idol contestants wouldn’t have a chance without the show. But Jane hasn’t seemed terribly interested in going that route so far – she’s referred to as a waitress in her bio. And since many people will refuse to support her on principle, it’s hard to see who is being hurt by allowing her on the show.
In fact, another auditioner on Sunday probably has a bigger potential launching pad for Idol success than even Jane. A singer named Ali Shields once got an impromptu sitdown with the host on Ellen and was later dispatched to serve as a red carpet correspondent for the show. You know Ellen, the show hosted by a former Idol judge who is still a big Idol booster? That’s a huge potential fanbase to have behind her if Ali were to make the voting rounds.