Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Last Night on American Idol

Last night on American Idol, Chris (no relation to Holly) Golightly, the last person to sing for the judges at the Los Angeles auditions, was first shown trudging disconsolately beside a train track, to the accompaniment of a poignant piano theme. He recounted to host Ryan Seacrest that he’d lived in a great many foster homes over the course of his short life, and had become accustomed to there being nobody to exclaim, “Attaboy!” if he did something noteworthy at school. But after the judges begrudgingly voted him through to the forthcoming Hollywood round, he left the audition room, and was greeted outside it by two friends — a rare misstep on the part of the show’s shamelessly manipulative director, whom I have now decided to replace.

Had I directed last night’s show, I’d have asked poor Chris’s friends to make themselves scarce, so that he would have no one with whom to share his moment of elation. He would emerge whooping and hooting triumphantly, as nearly all the golden ticket winners do, only to remember that he’s all alone in the universe — alone and unloved. The despairing piano theme would be heard anew, louder, as he tried in vain to blink back his tears. He would turn away from the camera in shame, and then fall to his knees, his body wracked by sobs.

The audition room will be rigged under my direction so that any singer indulging in melisma, the Mariah Carey-popularized trick of stretching a single syllable of a word over multiple notes for the purpose of inspiring listeners to exclaim, “Dude!” will receive a painful electric shock. For me, melisma is miasma.

The show is much more enjoyable in the pre-Hollywood audition stage, if you ask me, than when they all start mewling “All By Myself “and “Without You” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “A Natural Woman” and so on. But it would be even more enjoyable if not so predictable. You can bet the farm that every contestant revealed before auditioning to be A Devoted Parent or Son/Daughter is going to be good, and that if there’s something wrong with their kid or kids (autism seems to be big this season), terrific — maybe even terrific enough to inspire that pompous ditz Kara, perhaps America’s worst popular songwriter, to soar to new heights of inanity in her endorsement. “One million bazillon percent yes!”

Should any judge try to award an auditionee a yes vote exceeding 100 percent after I take charge, he or she will receive a painful electric shock, as they will too for using the adjective authentic for a singer with a drawl or cowboy hat. Should Clive Davis make an appearance, he will, if he offers a contestant such sage advice, gleaned from his 143 years in The Business, as, “Really feel the lyric,” be pelted with rotten vegetables and used condoms. An auditionee who humbly confirms that she is indeed a pastor, and who then, in response to the question What are you going to sing for us?, replies, "Nine Inch Nails’ 'Fuck You Like An Animal', will immediately be declared the Season 9 winner.

Should that corpulent windbag Randy Jackson, whom we think of in For All In Tents Towers as Dawgman Babydude, address a female contestant as man, he will receive a painful electric shock. Should he arrange his chubby fingers in a gesture presumably recognizable only to persons who think of themselves as one another’s... homies, he will be plunged into a vat of boiling miasma, or forced to have lunch with Clive Davis.

It’s high time, I think, that Simon Cowell stop being thought of as the show’s villain, especially in the audition stages; it isn’t he, but Jackson, who loudly mocks the comically hapless while they’re singing. It is Si, not Jackson, who commonly says something pleasurably wry. It is Jackson who’s proud of having played briefly in Journey, the mere thought of whom makes any reasonable person wince. And will someone please tell the guy that it's nonsensical, while sitting in Dallas, say, to shout, "Welcome to Hollywood"? One cannot actually welcome someone to a place neither is at the moment of welcoming!

Under my stewardship, there will be no more weeks during which all the contestants sing a Motown, disco, or Beatles song. Instead we will have death metal, shoegaze, and Sigur Ros weeks. The mark of a genuinely terrific singer is being able to sound terrific in Icelandic.

From this point forward, only males will be allowed to sing "Son of a Preacher Man" at their auditions, and any over-25 contestant who, in response to one of the judges asking, “So this is your last shot, isn’t it?” replies, “Fuck no, Jack; I’m going to give it to 40,” will immediately be whisked into the Final 24.

The asking judge will, of course, receive a painful electric shock.

[Sorry We're Open isn't my last shot; Anthems of Self-Loathing is forthcoming later in 2010! Facebookers: Read more like this and subscribe here.

1 comment:

  1. I am surprised that Melisma hasn't become a popular name for urban youths of the XX chromosome persuasion.