American Idol goes back to the well that is…here

Note: This column appears in the 7/17 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 7/18 issue of the Peoria Times

The American Idol auditions are coming to Glendale, and this is big news.

Off you go...

The city of Glendale has long been recognized for its firm opposition to reality show tryouts, as outlined by the founding fathers. So not only does this event symbolize the progression of a city, but it will also provide a rare opportunity for the FOX Network to callously exploit many of this area’s great young citizens for their inability to sing and/or possess any kind of self-awareness.

Let’s face it -- while this is being billed as simply a “tryout,” anyone who watches American Idol is quite aware that each season peaks in its first few episodes, during auditions. Take the show’s website, for example, which states: Once again, auditioners will have an extraordinary opportunity to perform before millions of TV viewers and become household names, with one winning the coveted American Idol title and a major recording contract. Right next to this statement is an advertisement featuring that dude Renaldo from last season, who sang the “I am your brother” song and who wore a fur cape and top hat. So we can see just how important auditions are.

Is there a Renaldo in Glendale? Technically, probably. Realistically, those of us not between the ages of 18-26 and without aspirations of having Simon Cowell berate us on national television will have to wait until January to find out. But of course, the talent pool will not just consist of Glendale. Young adults from Peoria, Surprise, and every other locale with the possible exception of Sun City will be there. I’m sure there will also be people from Kentucky at Arena on July 25th, mostly because they failed to impress the judges at auditions in Louisville, and spent $500 on air fare to come here so they could get made fun of again. They will probably be wearing chicken costumes. Man, I can’t wait for Season 8 to start!

You may be asking yourself, why Glendale? To you I say, welcome to the new millennium. Contestants from Glendale and its surrounding locales have been dominating the American Idol scene for the past few seasons now. Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks is from Glendale. Two of last season’s Top 12 finishers -- David Hernandez and Brooke White -- are from Glendale and Mesa, respectively. Clay Aiken’s aunt lives in Peoria. That last part I made up. Still though, the higher ups at American Idol have been virtually forced to host auditions here to see if the talent is as overflowing as the above facts would imply. Also, Ryan Seacrest had a good time here during Super Bowl week.

I imagine the end product -- the actual airing -- of these auditions will go something like this: Producers make the entire crowd at Arena scream “I’m the next American Idol!” It is mentioned approximately 400 times that Jordin Sparks is from Glendale. The first 5,000 people to try out are nothing like Jordin Sparks, in that they are awful. At least three contestants try to argue with Simon, failing miserably. Everyone tries to open the door that won’t open on the way out. Every home viewer gets the impression that Glendale has a collective IQ of 17 ½. Simon, Paula, and Randy begin to wonder if there is any talent here. Then, out of nowhere, a contender emerges! She is immediately labeled “the next Jordin Sparks.” Paula has goose bumps.

This is going to be awesome.

Regardless of how this plays out, allow me to wish each and every local hopeful the best of luck in their quest to become the next American Idol! Make Glendale proud.

Actually, don’t. It’s more fun that way.