Roman, er, American Idol

Well, I successfully avoided it for three entire seasons, but last night I happened to have my tuner card on Fox and I got sucked in by the machine. This year, we travel to the lovely coliseum in our nation's capitol. The lion lineup included such discerning tastemakers as That Former Laker Girl, That Mean British Guy, a surprisingly kind and lucid Jackson family member and, as a guest snacker, some hot dude from a band. And, as usual, you (and now I), gentle readers, are playing the role of The Bloodthirsty Mob in this year's meat circus.

As Andy Dehnart says in this mornings MSNBC recap, it's difficult to tell whether most of what we're seeing is a glorious put-on by some very clever moles or the sad, tatty dreams of some very delusional individuals. I'm praying for the former, but as a fellow human being (at least, I think we're all fellow human beings), I thought it might my duty to offer up a few helpful observations for those seriously contemplating joining in the next round of this madness. After all, being Kelly Clarkson, while not my particular cup o' java, is apparently a mighty big carrot at the end of this particular stick.


  1. Busk at a busy city street corner for at least four hours. If you make less than one dollar per hour, rethink your plans.
  2. If anyone pays you to stop singing, cancel them immediately.
  3. If you are thinking of breaking out of the facility in which you are currently institutionalized in order to attend the audition, don't.
  4. If you are auditioning because a member of your family is an amazing, famous pop singer, remember, Bill Clinton has a brother, too.
  5. If you are auditioning because the people around you will not shut up about how you totally sound just as good as Cristina Aguilara, remember, it doesn't count if they're sleeping with you.
  6. Or drunk.
  7. Or if any of them are Jesus.
  8. If, however, you are auditioning because you think you might be the next William Hung, remember, there was no Son of Pet Rock.
  9. When selecting your audition piece, pick one key and really commit to it.
  10. Yes, all the way through.
  11. Also, try to avoid anything that is an automatic punch line for the judges, such as “Beat It,” “I Can't Live Without You” or anything by the Spice Girls.
  12. Also-also, if you are a generously proportioned male who has reached your majority, it is almost certainly a bad idea to select material written for a 10-year old girl, no matter how much you identify with her.
  13. Please remember that we cannot in fact hear the CD you've been singing along to while you practice, nor the voices in your head singing back up, and choose your vocal arrangement accordingly.
  14. When putting together your ensemble, remember, those white jeans aren't going to make you look any thinner on camera than they do in that mirror.
  15. Check for camel-toe.
  16. In a well-lit room.
  17. Check again.
  18. If at the outset you perceive your career options as Pop Superstar or Cosmetologist, go with Cosmetologist.
  19. If, however, your idea of a smokin'-hot outfit is a rugby shirt and white jeans barely able to accommodate a Carl's Jr. receipt, think very seriously about a third option, like plant care, or lithium.
  20. If you are given the boot, for the love of God, remember that tape is forever.

xxx c