Note: I realize the show has moved on to a higher plane, but the life lessons still remain. Fair warning: This one has a bit more acid than I normally let leak out…
1. People don’t know how to behave in crowds.
Any time you get more than ten people in the same location, somebody’s going to do something dumb-ass. You get ten thousand people together, all of them hopped up on something or another, there’s going to be a mass explosion of stupidity and genetic malfunctions. These masses of people lining up for the auditions are thoroughly and completely out of control, running and screaming and jumping like they’ve got a cattle prod lodged in a random orifice and they don’t have the sense to pull it out.
And, of course, the “American Idol” production team totally encourages this, shoving cameras at these idiots as they shimmy and wail. We’re capturing all of this! Do something incredibly stupid for the whole world to see! And, thusly, the fevered Idol-bots ratchet up the frenzy until we’re two steps away from the Apocalypse, all of them doing shame dances of such incredible self-importance that it’s both stunning and mortifying.
I’m here to tell ya, my daddy would never have put up with me acting like that in public, cameras or no. He would have back-handed me across the parking lot, leaving me in a crumpled pile of dazed humility while he finished comparing hammers in the hardware department at Sears.
And seriously, you hyperactive little heathens, shouldn’t you be saving your energy for your two minutes before the judges? Why in the world would you want to burn yourself out showing completely uninterested viewers that you can, indeed, do three back-flips in a row while belting out “Ice, Ice Baby”? This is ludicrous. Shut up, go stand by a tree somewhere, meditate, and emotionally prepare yourself for Simon to call you an ugly pig, should you ever even make it past the doors of the inner sanctum.
2. People don’t know how to dress themselves.
I understand that in modern society we have a tremendous amount of clothing options, so the first few times that you are fully responsible for selecting your own attire, there may be a few mishaps. It takes a bit to figure out what is complimentary to your particular body type, and what is not. However, at some point, let’s say the age of sixteen, which is how old you have to be to get on this damn show, you should have things basically ironed out.
Yet this epiphany never happens for so many people. How can this be the case? I’m assuming that these atrociously-dressed munchkins must have access to a television of some kind, and that they have at least seen an episode or two of the show, right? Otherwise, why would they be here?
Did you ever see Kelly Clarkson sporting a pink leotard, a seafoam green ruffled skirt, a disco-glitter halter top, Hello Kitty earrings, severely-blue eye shadow and a scrunchie? No, you did not. You cannot be taken seriously if it looks like your stylist shops at Toys R Us. Likewise, you should not appear before the judges looking like you just stopped by on your way to a Marilyn Manson concert. Randy Jackson will not understand you. He’s still not sure if Adam Lambert identifies as male or female. Dawg.
3. People don’t read directions.
In case you didn’t catch it, there IS an age limit for this show. You have to be of a certain age and below a certain age. (Yes, this is discrimination. But discrimination is a part of American life because otherwise decent people can’t get off their asses and vote.) Yet we have all these toddlers and senior citizens in the massive line, excitedly wetting their Huggies or Depends, completely unaware that this adventure has been marked for failure before they got out of bed this morning.
And while we’re discussing the fine print, this is not a dance competition. So who are these people who can’t just stand there and sing whilst in front of the judges? Instead, said fools insist on running around the audition room like the Jets and Sharks are in the big rumble in “West Side Story”. Do you think one of the judges is actually going to say, “Wow, her singing sucks, but I totally believed that she was about to get capped by the brooding tenor with daddy-issues. Give her a golden ticket!”
Then we have the really serious “oops, forgot to read the manual” bit, where people seem stunned to learn that this show is about finding people who can actually sing. Why is this such a shock? If you waltz out there and wail away like a bovine in the midst of a very difficult breach birth, you are NOT getting through. Why does this surprise you? Have you ever listened to yourself? Even one time? Gawd. All I can say is that your friends are completely worthless. If you actually had some decent companions, at least one of them would have said, “oh honey, you really don’t need to go there, let’s play Twister instead, okay?”
4. Guest Judges on the audition panel are just like the “new” people who show up at family reunions.
You might know the name, but you really don’t know why these people are here. You don’t have enough information, so you can’t immediately pass judgment and therefore must watch the show to see how they act. And they will perform in one of two ways: They will either gush over everyone they meet, which means they are completely fake and cannot be trusted, or they will be bitchy right from the start and you just want them to leave. In summation, guest judges are the tofu burgers at the family picnic. A few people might take a nibble or two, but most people want the real beef.
5. People don’t know when it’s time to leave the party.
When Simon says it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Don’t ask if you can do another song. If you didn’t wow them with the first one, you don’t have a chance on the second one. Begging will get you nowhere. And don’t force the issue and screech out another selection by sheer force of will. This just makes people mad and Security will be called. Do you really want your mama to see you carried out by steroid-drenched authority figures while Judge Judy bans you from the continent?
And by no means should you get belligerent and argue with the judges when they have decided that you suck. Are you really that misguided? How can you think that telling Simon he doesn’t know what he’s talking about is going to gain you any favors? This isn’t a Republican convention. You can’t be nasty and still win.
6. Coke is better than Pepsi.
Take a gander at the strategically placed beverage cups on the judging table. Done.
7. Some queens just need some serious training.
What is it about this show that draws out the bitter, vapid gay boys who can’t sing a note but still have the Diana Ross attitude? This is such a disgrace for my people. Let me talk to them directly (I speak Queen): Sweetie, love the couture and the hair product, and the glitter on your nipples is a nice accent piece, but girl, you do NOT have it goin on. You are not Miss Jennifer Holliday. I don’t care if you bought the “Dream Girls” original cast recording with the extra money you made doing manicures at the bowling alley and listened to it every day for almost a week.
And that attitude you got up in your purse? You got this all kinds of wrong. A good queen sprinkles sugar on her bite, not just the pure anger that you think makes you special. It doesn’t. A lady leaves her mark, not her dark. Now go back home, watch reruns of “Designing Women“, and don’t leave the house until you get it right. Stop waving that hand around like you’re Helen Keller having an orgasm.
8. If a camera crew shows up at your house, you’re going to Hollywood.
Now, I’m all about uplifting stories where people facing overwhelming odds are given a chance at redemption and success. Very nice, let’s teach the world to sing and all that. But on “American Idol”, during the auditions, there’s a very specific pattern that always plays the same way. If Ryan Seacrest does a voice-over while we see video images of you back home, chopping wood or cleaning out septic tanks with your parents, we know your ass is bound for Cali.
I mean, come on. Clearly, the producers knew you were a shoo-in, or they wouldn’t have spent the time traipsing out to the family farm to document you and the local yokels having a square dance or fixing the tractor or whatever it is you do when you’re not watching the Fox network. I understand that it’s meant to be heart-warming. I also understand that the segment has been manipulated all to hell to make sure that it’s heart-warming. And that just sort of sucks the surprise out of it. We know you’re getting through if we see a shot of Ryan wedged in between your family members on the front-porch swing, sipping homemade lemonade and talking about grits.
9. People will burst into tears for no justifiable reason.
Let me re-phrase a theme that I keep returning to: If the judges don’t let you through, it’s because you’re not any good. If you audition for a singing competition and you don’t make it because you can’t sing, that’s your own damn fault. You’re either completely delusional or your support group is completely delusional. Neither case is a winning situation.
And this applies to everything in life. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Understand your limitations, and act accordingly. Just because you really, really, really want to be like Madonna, so you can prance around in steel-reinforced bustiers and adopt orphans from low-rent countries, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to happen. Prepare yourself for failure. It’s the right thing to do.
The wrong thing to do? Racing out of the “American Idol” audition room, where you have just been booted by the judges, and then launching into a sobbing bender where you run blindly into artificial plants and/or family members. You realize the cameras are rolling while you do this, right? Is this the image that you want America to remember, with you gushing psychotic tears, mucus flying in all directions, your mouth wide open in a wail of anguish while the camera zooms in so close that we can see your untalented uvula swinging to and fro?
I think not.
Instead, the proper rejection etiquette is that you accept the judges’ decision to not unleash you on the innocent world, graciously thank them for their insight and guidance, humbly but proudly stroll out of the room, weakly smile at the camera with benign resignation, wander far enough away that we can no longer see exactly what you are doing, then immediately turn to a life of drug-addiction and alcohol-dependency like any other American who has been told “no, that’s not going to happen.”
10. People named Simon are usually right.
Sad, but true. The man is apparently incapable of letting anyone down gently, or with any sense of style and skill. (Hmm. Perhaps he could also benefit from repeated viewings of “Designing Women”? Just a thought.) 87% of the time he is completely spot-on with his assessment. 86% of the time he’s so jarringly rude about it that you only hear how he says it and not what he says.
Then again, the man makes 45 million an episode, or some such. And I understand that he’s leaving at the end of this season. Which means there’s an opening for someone who can be extremely bitchy, while speaking in a British accent and wearing casual t-shirts all the time.
Now THAT’S an audition worth the paperwork. I promise I won’t cry if I don’t get it.
And if Ryan Seacrest knocks on my door with a camera crew, I know I’m in. Word.
Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 01/29/10. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post.
Categories: 10 Reasons Why