One summer I decided to give the devil a blowjob and be one of 8,000 people to audition for American Idol at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. It was twelve hours of mind-numbing, soul-crushing purgatory that did not reward me with a record contract, but with a humiliating story to whip out at dinner parties. At least I have FOX network to thank for that. I showed my sleepy self up at the Rose Bowl at 5 a.m., bringing along my non-auditioning companion who was kind enough to keep me company throughout the entire day-long ordeal (re: he owed me money). I got dolled up in my best pop star clothes, my hair absolutely perfect. We sat inside a stadium of 8,000 other hopefuls in 100-degree heat, all of us shouting “I’m the next American Idol!” each time the producers demanded we do so over a loudspeaker. Five hours passed. Then five more hours passed. My perfectly applied makeup had long since been washed off from the sweat pouring down my head. I resembled Courtney Love, on a good day. Girls practiced their Whitney Houston songs next to me.

Their also-auditioning friends harshly critiqued them, then sang back Mariah Carey. Flamboyant gay men added sparkle to their hair to stand out. A guy dressed in a giant banana suit rehearsed Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” into a Gatorade bottle. I scoffed at them, but in all seriousness, I was one of these people, waiting for my chance at fame. I had never been more ashamed. That is, until it was my time to sing, just as the sun was setting. I was walked in a group of four to one of twelve booths where one judge sat, and she was neither Paula, Randy or Simon. Contrary to what you see on the show, there are at least three levels you have to pass before you get the chance to peek into Abdul’s Coca-Cola cup and see what’s inside. But what if you didn’t have time to go through all these auditions? Well, you just aren’t desperate enough and have too much self-respect, which means you have no business being on TV.

I stepped up, said my name, my song and off I sang. Nice and quick, which is ironic since American Idol is the most draaaawn ouuuut hour on television. I belted the fuck out of my two verses. I could already feel Ryan Seacrest’s hand on my shoulder guiding me to the Couch of Safety. I’m the next American Idol, bitches! But the one lone judge replied: “We’re looking for really polished singers this year, really amazing voices. Sorry." What. The. Fuck.

I’d waited 12 hours in intense heat on no sleep to sing eight lines of a song to some girl who had no credibility as far as I was concerned since she had never recorded a duet with DJ Skat Kat. And that was that. I was immediately escorted to the exit by security, like they could see the fury building in my eyes where tears of joy should be. I joined a scattering of other dazed losers, wandering around aimlessly in the dusk, trying to figure our what to do with the rest of their lives. Where do we go now? What do we do? How will we ever become famous? Answer: totally slutting it up for attention on Real World in hopes of landing a recurring role on "Real World/Road Rules" challenge.


Becky Bain, Dan Monick, LIVING THE DREAM

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