Things I've Learned by Watching American Idol

For some reason, I've been watching American Idol a lot recently. In previous years, I've watched a bit of the audition episodes, but have always lost interest after a handful of good crooners and a plethora of bad singers as well. I think it may be because I love Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez as judges (positive and constructive criticism, say what?!), or due to the fact that the program seems infinitely better this season.

After ten seasons, however, I'm pretty sure I've figured out the secret to being on reality TV. Okay, so these things have been clear in previous seasons, but this year it seems more prevalent.
1. If you want to get past the pre-audition that they give you before you get to see the "star" judges, have a story. You could be like Stefano Langone, the guy with a beautiful voice who was in a horrible car accident in 2009 and prevailed. Or you could be Lauren Alaina, who promised her cancer-stricken cousin she'd pursue a singing career to fulfill her dying wish (she survived!). You've gotta have a good voice, yes, but you must have a story so that featuring you on television brings ratings.  

2. If you don't have a story, have a personality.
"Different: A red apple in a pile of green apples" is a great descriptor for Brett Loewenstern, especially if you're going for the whole ostracism thing (although props for standing up for yourself; bullies ain't got nothing on your voice, kid). Or, you could be the extremely overly happy and optimistic girl, Victoria Huggins, who has had her own "official website" since age 8 (the little ball of crazy was just eliminated in Week 1 of Hollywood, which is sad 'cuz I thought her Miley Cyrus-esque twangy young voice was kind of adorable). Or the introverted Drew Beaumier who couldn't sing worth a lick but made an awesome Transformer costume. If you don't have a story, a personality will get you some camera time and almost guarantee an audition in front of Steven, J-Lo, and Yo Yo Dawg Randy.

3. If you don't have a story or a personality, steal one or make one up.
Jersey girl Tiffany Rios pasted stars on her breasts (and brought attention to her "J-Lo butt") to catch the casting directors' attention (I thought she was low average as far as singers, and yet she made it past Hollywood Week 1, if you can believe that). She actually wrote her own song for the initial audition, which ended with, "You need me, oh baby they need me, America needs me for higher ratings on TV." Mmhmm. There's also Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford, the couple who are "in love" and yet seem very suspicious (click here to watch Nick freak out as he doesn't make it past Hollywood Week 1 although his "girlfriend" does).  

4. Be really,
really, really good at singing, like Paul McDonald whose version of Maggie May is incredibly soulful, or be really, really, really bad, like Melkia Wheatfall (although I give her props for singing her heart out).

I've also noticed that anybody who says, "All my friends think I'm a good singer" or "My parents think that I should win American Idol" are generally tone deaf and should not even be given camera time.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a hilarious quote that opened up the San Francisco audition: "Just because somebody farts, let 'em finish singing, okay?"

Have you been watching American Idol? Who is your favorite contestant thus far?





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