Congratulations, Scotty McCreery. You're the new "American Idol" champ.
Now, whatever you do, don't do this:
1. Don't Be What You Weren't: Let's say you're Ruben Studdard, and you sell yourself to "Idol" watchers as the dress-casual Luther Vandross. Then you release your first album, and you go hip-hop--or, worse, "faux" hip-hop in the judgment of some critics. Then you release your second album, and you go gospel. Then you release your third album (and, by this point, you are most fortunate to do so), and you finally--finally!--get down to business. Unfortunately, this late in the game, there isn't much business to be had.
2. Don't Ever Forget: Show Business Is Business: "[The Idol winner] should become very serious-minded. Many of our artists get caught up with the glamour and the excitement." This advice was told to us by Al Bell, who ran the legendary Stax Records and headed Motown Records. So, basically, this is very sound advice.
3. Don't Be Like the Two Other : This no-no is alternately known as the Lee DeWyze Principle. Make that, the Poor Lee DeWyze Principle. Fortunately, for you, it applies only to the poor Mr. DeWyze.
4. Don't Let Happen to You: Granted, we don't know how you go about preventing people from sniping behind your back, a la Taylor Hicks. Well, come to think of it, there is one thing: The more hits you make, and the more stadiums you pack, the more "diva" becomes a term of endearment, a la Lady Gaga.
5. Don't Laugh at Susan Boyle: Seriously. "Whatever you think of her, she's doing what is right," Bell says of the "Britain's Got Talent" alum, whose debut collection was deigned "terrible " by onetime "Idol" runnerup Adam Lambert. "She's been real." (And she's really sold millions more albums than Lambert, too.)