Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Dawg, that was a bit pitchey": My life as an American Idol audition

Last night I watched the first night of this season's American Idol auditions with teenage son, Jacob, and I found myself paying particular attention to the words Simon, Paula, Kara and Randy used to tell rejected contestants that they wouldn't be moving on to the next round. Interestingly/scarily, some of the judge's words resonated with me.

We all want to be rock stars in our own way. My goal was to be a Sociology Rock Star - get my Ph.D. and become a qualitative researcher. Although I have an M.A. in Sociology and have been involved with some research projects, numerous obstacles have interfered with attaining Rock Star status, as I define it.

Recently, I considered going back to school to get that Ph.D. but after looking into the logistics of graduate school in middle age, I've come to the conclusion that - gasp! - I am longer young. The world is not my oyster, damn. I don't want to be that outlier older student the age of her cohort's parents. Not to mention the stress, oy. And when I'm stressed, we're all stressed. Me thinks that ship has sailed.

Instead, I mother, blog, write grants, advocate for my kids, support my husband,volunteer for meaningful organizations, try my best to wrangle away from commitments that aren't meaningful, manage my Ipod, ponder whether or not to "Twitter", exercise, and too rarely clean the refrigerator.

So what would Paula or Simon say to me? Hopefully, not that I sound like a drowning cat (Simon, I'm talking about you). But, some of what the judges say to contestants who are NOT going to Hollywood would apply to me, as well:

" You have a great personality"

" I think it's great that you came out and gave it your all"

"Go back home and be the best you can be"

"Continue to work hard"

"You're lucky you have so many people behind you"

During Tuesday night's show, as in all the AI audition shows, some contestants handled their rejection with grace; they were polite, and appreciated constructive criticism while others - not so much. Some contestants put down the judge's own talent - not so smart - or refused to leave the audition room until the mean 'ole bouncer dude takes them away by the arm.

Likewise, we can accept with grace the perimeters of our achievements and redefine our success. Or, we can rage and say "It's not fair" or the equivalent of "I can try another song; just about Killing Me Softly?"

Most timer, I opt for the former, but we all have our days and moments. Luckily, for such moments we have our friends, significant others and support mechanisms such as this Face Book group I was invited to join: ""OMG I so need a glass of wine or I'm gonna sell my kids."

Are you an aspiring Rock Star, and what kind? And what would the American Idol judges say to you? What helps you the most when you feel confined by your family and personal responsibilities? And just WHEN do we party like rock stars?!


Anonymous said...

LOL...I was just 'out' partying like a rock star (okay, like a middle aged rock star who is tired).

They would probably say, "little pitchy" or "don't quit your day job" (you mean I really can't quit my day job, I thought the goal was to work myself out of a job?)....LOL....


Carol said...

Ah yes, those day jobs - we wouldn't want to quit those! Jacob has a sharp eye for the listing of contestant job's on the show. One was listed as "floor maintenance" and Jacob said "that means he's the guy who mops the floor." He cuts right to the chase, that one!

Anonymous said...

That's funny....sounds like him...made my day...

I also figure they'd say, "she's doing the best that she can". Yep, that's me.


Anonymous said...

By the way...I still haven't figured out the purpose of "Twitter".

Carol said...

My friend Jaime send me a great article on that and I STILL don't understand. But I'm working on it. Here's the link:

Sylvie said...

I don't watch American Idol (although I've seen some of the greatest hits and misses on youtube later, like William Hung, or the roller skate or ski-board girl or whoever she was). I recognize that the fun of the early episodes is to see self-important poseurs cut down to size (I once read a book that basically contrasted many non-US societies as ones where angry people push status claims by asking "do you know who I am" while in the US, status claims are repelled by asking "who do you think you are?") On the other hand, there is something sad here, and that is the message that certain kinds of activities should only be done by people with "talent." Yes, I know that American Idol holds out the promise of a professional career for the winner(s), and a professional career is certainly not for everyone -- in fact it's for the very few. But unlike our ancestors (or many, many people in the developing world, as I'm sure you know, Carol), we just don't create as much entertainment for ourselves as we used to. We don't sing or dance or tell stories in public as much as people used to in the past,or around the world, entirely unself-consciously. Instead, we are turning into a society where some people "do" and others "watch."

Carol said...

You're right, Sylvie, we do depend on others to "define" entertainment. And all those people to aim for stardom with so few attaining it is similar to all those would be athletic stars who think they will make the major leagues but don't. It's when the lust for fame interferes with realistic goals and actions - that's when there really is a problem.

Pam said...

Hi Carol, Loved your blog. And yes, my kids and I watch American Idol on a regular basis, esepcially after they narrow it down to the top ten. Geoffrey enjoys music and it is a show that is oh so easy to explain, they sing, we vote, the votes are counted. Compare that to other game or reality shows.

I too, have come to terms that some of my early in life set goals won't be met, but I think having a son with a disability has shaped me into the complex person I am, sometimes soft and kind and often as direct as I have to be if basic rights are challenged. When I think of what I do in a typical week with talking to school adminstrators, interacting eith state legislators, working for pay with several agencies and dealing with a teenage daughter, it makes other's lives look downright dull. And I think everyone can agree that our lives are never dull...........we are never bored............we will always have a mission....... Pam

babs m said...

Simon would definitely say to me, "Hey, why don't you go form a group with that woman over there? She doesn't clean her refrigerator enough either. Maybe you could call yourselves The Leftovers...."