On Your Marks...
Now that we’ve sat through yet another desperately awful faux-suspense elimination round featuring DRAMATIC spotlights and a LONG WALK of joy or shame that has borrowed every cheesy gimmick from every vomit-inducing “selection” show ever thrust upon a sofa-bound public, we have 24 fresh targets to hurl our votes at until summer.
This has been a transformational year for American Idol: the new judging line-up has injected the show with new life. Steven Tyler has been both entertaining and astute. J-Lo has been sincere and technically useful. I am looking forward to seeing how they work as real-time live-TV commentators; it’s a role we’ve seen crash and burn before when there was such promise (Ellen).
Here’s what The Inky Jukebox would like to see the talented contestants do this season, given that they have lived half their lives watching the show and therefore know what the deal is.
* Sing awesome songs. Do not sing the same song every other contestant has always sung. Do your homework or get one of your pals to do it for you. It’s called the internet: use it.
* Do not sing the easiest or most obvious song. I am talking to you, deep-voiced country dude with big ears. We ALL know you can sing Josh Turner songs. We ALL know you sing Josh Turner songs because he, too, has that deep bass voice. (OK, all the country fans do, who are going to be your voting base.) But guess what, Dude: there is life beyond Josh Turner. For a start, there is Trace Adkins. Then again, there are many songs that no-one has ever tackled before with that great big deep voice! So go for them!
* Grab that stage and own it like you have done so far when you do not have a billion people watching you live. The TV magnifies every single drop of hesitation or lack of confidence. Work it like you are in it to win it, y’all.
* Wear good clothes. Please. Girls: this means trash those horrendous poufy mini-skirts and ankle-boot heels. You are not selling your legs. I don’t care how good your legs are. Remember that a simple fitted man’s suit looks classier and sexier than a whole store-full of accessories. Gentlemen: dress up. Act like you are appearing on TV before a billion people, not your high school assembly. Wear actual shoes. Don’t got none? Buy some. Get a haircut.
* Don’t argue with the judges. Accept everything they say with grace. You are auditioning in front of every music executive who is watching at home and whom you will rely on for a career once you get voted off, which you will.
* Stay away from the spray-tan or the tanning salon in general. You look orange on TV.
* Sing soft. You do not have to sing loud: you have a microphone. We can all hear you. Let well-timed silence speak volumes. Do not fill every empty space with extra notes.
* Make songs your own. Twist ‘em up new: be memorable. We all know the originals: we want to hear amazing stuff from you. “Mad World,” anyone?
* Don’t rest on your laurels by thinking you are immune from an early exit. Or from any exit. You have to bring it each and every time as if it’s a lifesaver round.
* Gargle with salt water. Stay healthy. Protect your instrument. Yeah, it’s yucky: do it. Then a spoonful of honey.
Ready. Set. Go.