The plan.

Here is why I decided to audition, and the initial steps I took to actualize my plan


Birmingham: Round 1 of American Idol Auditions

So the plan changed. When I got to Birmingham, I realized that everybody there was serious, and there was no competition for silly. Furthermore, EVERYBODY could sing really well. There was no way I could stand out by just being another "excellent singer." So I called an audible, and decided to go silly. I was already wearing my suit, so I put on the mask and prepared to sing my silly song. It was my backup piece, "Roll Into Me," sung with WAY too many interpretive dance/hand gestures. I'll post something on youtube sometime. I was going to do Memphis in silly costume with serious singing, but I decided the new plan was Birmingham, silly costume with silly singing.

When it was my turn before the judge, I got bad luck. I got one of the mean judges (Judge #6). She didn't want us to talk, or give an intro. Just sing. It was obvious she was only looking for the next Fantasia Barrino, and she wasn't going to pass anyone else... she certainly wasn't going to waste one of her precious golden tickets on a prankster.

But I was in costume, and I executed my plan anyway. I got out 8 words, and she said "That's enough." The other auditionees got to sing their verse and chorus. We stepped forward, and we were told that "You're not what we're looking for this season."

I was disappointed, and I got my wrist band cut off and started to leave the arena, when the head judge told me to get back in line.

So I did, and when I faced the mean judge again, the head judge was at the table with her. The head judge asked me to step forward, and he said "I don't care how you sing."

And I didn't sing again for him.

He continued, "I like your "look" enough that I'm interested to hear what you've got. You're going on to the next round." So I got my golden ticket, and it had nothing to do with how I sang. It was fun to wave my ticket around and have lots of the Birminham audience people take my pictures, because they believed they'd be seeing me on TV come January.


Birmingham: Callback auditions

I returned to Birmingham 2 weeks later. According to Judge #6, they weren't looking for intentionally bad singers (maybe there are so many good acts from Birmingham they don't want to waste time with the intentionally bad), so I would sing in costume and give it my best, which is what the head judge recommened. (I kept my "look" and decided to show him what I've got.) This was what I was planning to do in Memphis, I'd just be doing it in Birmingham instead. So I never auditioned in Memphis, figuring Birmingham would be my one shot at Idol-dom.

I was one of the last 5 people to go before Nigel. many people who made it on TV .)I sang my 2 songs, and he said he didn't like my vibrato. Actually, he said "If you wore a yellow suit you would sound like Tweety Bird. Today, you are a Dark Loser ."

On the drive home, I analyzed what went wrong. I realized that my getting cut had nothing to do with my vibrato, and I suspect Nigel knew that. (If my vibrato really was that bad, he would have passed me on to the next round and let Simon make fun of me for it.) There are 2 reasons why I might have gotten cut:

1. They were threatened by my "awesome sexiness." Nigel knew that there was nothing that Simon and Co could make fun of, and he didn't want to risk that a costume might actually make it to Hollywood. So he cut me early, to relieve the Big 3 from having to say "You sound awesome, but we don't like your costume. We're so superficial that we're going to cut you."

2. They decided I was a "bait and switch-er." Looking back, I realize that mean Judge #6 from Round 1 was in the room with Nigel and me. She saw my silly piece at round 1, and might have told Nigel that I sang silly in 1st round. Also Nigel asked me TWICE if I was going to sing "a silly song." (I don't think it was an innocent question, it was a hint suggesting what I needed to do to get to the next round.) Thus I was on the "costume silly sing" track" as opposed to the "costume serious sing" track. I thought that only my costume mattered, and that I was actually told NOT to sing silly for the next round (because I got cut, remember?)


Seattle Auditions

Aaargh! So close, yet so far! Upon returning home, I decided to see if there were any auditions left for the year. I would go and sing "Grapevine" serious (with less vibrato) and then "transform" into the Darkwinner and sing "Roll Into Me" (silly version.) I would thus fix both the "stated motivation" for getting cut, as well as what I perceived was their "true motivation" for my getting cut.

So when I was in line about to meet my new judge in Seattle, a different head judge came to the table and whispered into my judges's ear. They pointed at me. I waved back. When I got to the judge, he said "Your name is the Dark something, right?" I gave an intro, I did my serious/silly transition, and when the four of us was done, the judge said "You're not what we're looking for this season." (He did have a twinkle in his eye though, and I could tell he was amused by my performance.)

Thus, I strongly suspect that I am forever banned from American Idol auditions as a bait and switcher. It's not my fault. If mean judge #6 had done her job and passed me because of my silly song, I would have sang my silly song for round 2 and 3 (in front of Simon, Randy and Paula). I would have gladly accepted the exposure for my Darkwinner brand. I got cut because of the "invisible rules" I wasn't aware I was bound by.

Unfair? Probably. But hey, I got to the next round and it had nothing to do with my voice. And then when I got cut, it still had nothing to do with my voice. So there's a certain karma to it all. American Idol thinks that talent is easy to come by, and so if they get even a small reason to cut you (like a suspected bait and switch-er), they'll cut you. The upshot is that I can truthfully say for the rest of my life "I didn't make it on American Idol because I sang too well."

Advice for other American Idol auditionees. Once you're on the silly track, you can't switch off (regardless of how awesome you sing.) If they let one person switch tracks, they think everyone would start doing it. So even if you're an unaware bait and switch-er, you're still bound by the same rules as everyone else.

I'll probably write more about this in the future. So check back


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