Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Some wisdom for 'American Idol' wannabes

Meditating on the "American Idol" auditions coming to Idaho Falls, it dawned on me that they're not just looking for good singers. They're looking for really bad singers, too. If you have a hankering to be humiliated in front of millions, this could be your big chance. Alas, I am too old to entertain such dreams.
Everyone's favorite from Season Six, Sanjaya
Think about it, though. Every season, the first five shows seem to be devoted to the judges enduring an endless parade of people with questionable talent. A friend of mine who tried out in Las Vegas several years ago (and who has a very good voice, by the way) said she was shocked by how rigged the process seemed to be. Really bad singers made the cut while the good singers all seemed to have agents with a direct line to the show's producers, she said.

Reality TV? Get real. If you think you have a shot, by all means you should try out. Just don't be too upset if you get more reality than you expect.

Several years ago I went to Salt Lake City when I heard the road production of "Les Miserables" was having auditions. I went for the purpose of writing a story, but figured it would be a better story if I, in the spirit of George Plimpton, tried out myself.

The downtown Red Lion was mobbed. I filled out the paperwork, then waited four hours (I had brought a book to read.) When my time came, I walked into a room with nine other people. Three people at a banquet table looked at us. "You and you, come back at 4. The rest of you, thank you very much."

I was in the "thank you very much" group. Talking later to the producer, I was told I had been "typed out." It was nothing personal. I was either too old, too short or whatever.

I'm guessing the same thing may have happened when I tried out for "Jeopardy!" The show's "Brain Bus" came to Jackson, Wyo., and at the end of the day I was among nine finalists who'd passed the test. We played a mock game so the judges could observe us and take notes. I thought I did pretty well, but the call never came in the year that followed.

This comes from an American Idol blog called VoteForTheWorst.com: "During the initital auditions, the producers of Idol only let certain people through. Many good people are turned away and many bad singers are kept around to see Simon, Paula and Randy so that America will be entertained ... American Idol lets many contestants into the top 24 who have no chance to win. These people are placed in the competition for ratings, and when they start to perform poorly the viewing audience laughs and generally votes them out."