Jane Carrey, Jim Carrey

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Why is Jim Carrey's daughter auditioning for American Idol if her daddy is rich enough to pay for someone to produce a album for her?
Alissa M., via the inbox

As handy as it can be for a budding musician to have a famous dad (right, Willow Smith?) it's not so advantageous as you might think. There may be a good reason why for example, Tom Hanks' rapper son is not burning up the charts right now.

So why did Jane Carrey feel the need to audition? Let me give you some insider insight...

...with the help of someone who would know.

A famous last name "can get you through the front door more easily," says Jo-Ann Geffen, the manager behind talent like David Cassidy and The Simpsons' Nancy Cartwright. "But at the end of the day, the reality is, no one is going to invest good money in someone who can't hold up their end, talentwise."

In other words, maybe Jane Carrey has met with plenty of talent execs, and maybe those meetings were arranged with the help of her dad. Maybe Jane had a kickass demo that was funded by her dad, maybe she didn't. It doesn't matter, because a meeting and an album does not a career make. You need meetings and a demo and talent and—and this is the most important part—executives who believe they can make a whole lot of money off of the specific talent you have. A famous last name in no way guarantees that last part.

I spoke recently to the daughter of a very, very famous rock star. She's building her own entertainment career. She told me that she's been to many a meeting with many a mogul. But most told her, to her face, that they were simply unimpressed with her family connection; she was told that there are countless sons-of, daughters-of, and cousins-of in this town, but all that matters, in the end, is whether she can deliver, talent-wise. (She can, by the way, and she is.)

The takeaway: Yes, Jane Carrey's dad could fund an album for her. But he can't force a label to distribute it, or market it, and that's half the battle.

And right now, no advantage compares to the leg-up that musicians get by going on a single episode of American Idol.

"You're not going to get that many faces anywhere else," Geffen tells me. "The reality is that they get tens of millions of viewers a week. Even if you do get that meeting instead, you're dependent on that one person, not 10 or 20 million. Nothing else compares to that kind of visibility today."

The real question is: Can Jane survive once she reaches the Hollywood rounds?

GALLERY: After American Idol—Where Are They Now?

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