How to Create an American Idol
Here are some passing thoughts to go with today’s cartoon, (which no one will read) if you’re feeling like more bite with your morning funny. Some may call it a rant and rightly so. I’m just a bit befuddled with America’s obsession with watching young people being publicly humiliated to millions of viewers. Or maybe it’s just me. I wrote this in one sit and it’s basically all from my noggin. Take with a spoonful of sugar and a heaping dose of good-natured poking.
This is quite possibly longer than your daily dose of email spam, but I think it’s worth the read. (about 1,500 words) – Admin
How to Create an American Idol in 12 Easy Bake Steps:
Because our country ran out of real-life heroes like Henry Ford, Joe Dimaggio, and Andre the Giant, we (the broadcast media-who ultimately run the country but I’m not a cynic) thought we’d create one (or as many as we can make money on)! This handy recipe can be whipped up in any American kitchen, which, thanks to modern planning, is serendipitously perched next to a large plasma TV.
STEP 1: SHOP THE MARKET
By pooling from an enormous number of average people, in this case the entire United States, producers (bakers) can create the illusion that anyone could have a chance at stardom. Create a cattle call (casting call) in major cities enticing those in the pre-determined age group to show up and jiggle their goods. Be sure to enforce photo I.D. since we don’t want any new American Idols over the age of 16. Twenty-somethings can tryout as long as they look 16.
STEP 2: HAND PICKED INGREDIENTS
While painstakingly and arduously weeding out the no-talent hacks by no-talent judges no one has ever heard of before, the contestants must endure torture of the most grievous kind: Judgement. It is imperative the judging panel be balanced with equal amounts of ridicule, insult, belittling, beleaguering, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, hate, love, spite and warm, fuzzy feelings. Each sad entrant must be televised for the masses. Special attention and possible instant replays are recommended for the especially sad / energetic cases.
STEP 3: PRE-HEAT THE OVEN
Make sure to ‘pre-interview’ the most attractive and odd American Idol wannabes, just in case they are chosen for round 2 (like we don’t already know who they are). Send camera crews and giddy first-year journalists to the rural homes in the country or the project homes in the ghetto to get in-depth interviews of these promising, young starlets. SINGLE OUT those who are most likely to cry, scream, or have a complete and utter meltdown when rejected. Interview families who are either
d). “Knew his stupid kid would make something out of his/her talent based on a karaoke performance during Aunt ____’s 4th Wedding reception X summers ago.”
Help create backstories for contestants possibly fertile with, or could be coerced to portray:
- The ‘Heartland of America’
- America’s Sweetheart
- Inner city kid trying to ‘make it in this great big world’
- A Southerner (appeals to the Springer generation / American Idol demo, because TV’s are cheaper in the Southern States, and because nothing sells records like a Southern Belle with honey-blonde flowing locks, cutoffs that would curl the spurs off a tinhorn, and a Southern Drawl thick enough to counterbalance her impish litheness.
- Anyone from the East or West Coast because they’re all colorful and wacky
STEP 4: SECOND BATCH
The American Idol Contestants Second Round should include the following:
- An even number of males and females and gender neutrals
- A heaping spoonful of knockout babes with no vocal experience whatsoever
- A modest handful of ‘make-it-or-die-trying’ vocal talents with skin / hair / vision / clumsiness / or weight issues
- A dollop or two of quirky, off-beat, or utter ridiculous contestants with strange or crazy quirks
- The hand-picked, secret talent ingredient who will ultimately win with complete backstory including several costume change interviews
STEP 5: CRUSH THEM INTO A FINE POWDER
Time to separate the wheat from the chaff. Now that their individual American Idol dreams of famous obscurity seem to be coming true, mash them with a meat tenderizer and batter them with a rolling pin. Be brutal, mean, bored, agitated, tired, confused, and generally fed up with the ‘Lack of Talent This Season’. Cut at LEAST HALF OF THEM.
STEP 6: WHIP THEM INTO SHAPE
Between episodes, take your predetermined secret ingredient American Idol winner and fix them. Fix their teeth, their diet, their hair (unless it’s already eye-poppingly hilarious) and skin. Give them a personal trainer and make them sweat. Give them a personal chef and a live-in speech trainer. Sign them up under a pseudonym for Toastmasters. Hire Tony Robbins for a weekend. If possible, addict them to cocaine or alcohol (this will render them more pliable and compliant), or amphetamines since it has a happy side effect of weight loss and improves reaction time.
STEP 7: ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING
Introduce a ‘REAL’ Entertainer to the American Idol Show for dramatic flavor and nutty undertones. Pick any generic singer/songwriter at random from a top hat (the top hat is crucial to the recipie). It won’t matter who you choose since kids today listen to the same 10 songs over and over and still aren’t convinced there ever was a real person named Elvis or Lennon. Ressurect your ‘PRO’ for precisely timed voice lessons and sound bytes. Call him/her an ‘Industry Legend’ (which means they’ve stopped producing any real work this century), add water and sprinkle salt to taste. Everyone will feel ‘honored and as if they’ve “learned soooooo much, OMG!!!”. Feel free to edit out statements like “I’ve never heard of the old bat before today,” and, “who?”.
STEP 8: REDUCTION SAUCE
Now that you’ve dragged out the same content as much as you could and sufficiently built their hopes up again, CRUSH THEM. GRIND THEM. MINCE THEM. REDUCE THEM BY HALF AGAIN. Cut another half of the group with a high-heat simmer to boil while asking America’s phone vote to do it (completely disregard any real phone-in results, and in fact, it’s less messy to just not keep real track at all). This helps make America feel involved and sets our bellies a-rumble with desire for a tasty outcome.
STEP 9: THE FINAL BATCH
As you near the final selected batch of new American Idol contestants, allow them to cool at room temperature. Give them a bus ticket home to their tiny, little, postage-stamp town where they can do any or all of the following:
- Name a day in their honor
- Present Key to City
- Mayor’s Special Medal of Whatever
- Open the new (and only) Mall
- Ride on a Fire Engine
- Sing National Anthem at seasonal sporting event
- Preform a Free 1-song Concert (preferably made to look impromptu) from a hastily setup stage or flatbed trailer. Working P.A. system optional.
Sprinkle in little stops to charities, grade schools, nursing homes, and simmer.
STEP 10: BAKE
Back on set, make sure to ‘arrange’ for the finalists to become “Best Friends Forever” or BFFs. They must (not binding, of course) agree to do “projects” together in the “future” . Consider using the ‘TOUR’ word, but only if absolutely necessary and if the dough is beginning to feel a little flat. Make them sing/perform a few more times to songs they’ve never heard before and must learn in 3-4 hours (but letting them stew overnight really softens the juices and adds frazzled flavor). Attempt to build up their hopes and dreams again but at this stage it doesn’t really matter since everyone present is guaranteed a recording contract / recognition / therapy of some kind. For an aged flavor, bring back a previous season’s American Idol Winner to try some duets while hawking CDs.
STEP 11: REMOVE FROM OVEN
The heat of spirited competition has melted away the unworthy. All that stands are the finalists. Invite Ma and Pa America into your kitchen to sample the crumbs and let them decide. Again, using a fake voting system of your choice, ask America to cast it’s ballot for the next American Idol, comforted by the knowledge of having know the secret ingredient the whole time. Reveal your final ingredient and be ready to capture such tasty sound bytes as, “This is the best season of American Idol Ever!” and “I knew it all along! Yippee!!”.
STEP 12: THE ICING on the CAKE
Sit back and have your cake while you eat it too. Having pleased America’s palate, and satisfied its hunger for sugar-coated dreams, you can wake in the morning and laugh all the way to the bank with your golden recipe for success. Take pride in know you’ve taken mediocre ingredients, shoveled them into a melting pot, submitted them to trial by fire, and engorged Americans on a fluffy treat with absolutely no nutritional value or substance.
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