By now the cat’s out of the bag:
I got rejected!!! I made it all the way to the Executive Producers, only to be turned down. After eating, sleeping, and breathing American Idol for so many months, one might ask, “Was it all for nothing?” I think not. In short, this was not so much an effort to become an Idol contestant as it was a performative exploration of the norms bound up with the show. I also thought of it as quite political—I wanted to get young people thinking about the practice of voting in the lead-up to the 2004 Presidential elections, which ran parallel to the lead-up to my audition. This, I think, worked. (How fun that my audition aired on the night of the State of the Union!) Over 6,000 of you wrote me to vote on what I should wear and sing and since then, another 10,000+ of you expressed your solidarity. This, to me, has been profound and I do thank you, sincerely. I’ll admit that this whole process affected me deeply, and as I progressed through the auditions, I found that I had to put many of my own stereotypes and assumptions in check.
The one thing that remains is that I love to sing and I always will. When I sang for Nigel Lythgoe, one of the two Executive Producers, he told me that I had “about as much chance of becoming the next American Idol as [he did] of becoming the next Picasso,” I was shocked. First of all, I was elated that he’d use an art reference to diss me, since this was an art project about the relationship between fame & talent. But, I’ll confess that it shook me. It took me a few days to have the confidence to sing in the shower, again. But I’ve been performing and playing with friends, since then, and I continue to love it. I may not have a body like Christina Aguilera, a voice like Mariah Carey, or a wardrobe like Beyonce Knowles, but I’m comfortable with myself. I hope that any aspiring Idol reading this will be equally as comfortable with themselves (so many of you wrote me about your insecurities), and know that while the show is great at packaging talent, it is not the only road to success. My training took the form of attempting to stand out, yet often resulted in bruises, rashes, and heartache (see above, and below). In the end I stand out anyway, and I love it here in my little corner. Thanks for stopping by.
P.S. I wanted to post some kind of update right away, but if you want to read a longer explanation of my reasons for going into training, keeping this blog, and auditioning, come back shortly for a behind the scenes diary, a statement on “why I did it” and notes on the aftermath of my American Idol audition experience. (Remember that I'm on the West Coast, so I'm posting this ten minutes before the San Francisco auditions even air, here. OOPS. UPDATE: I just saw the auditions and mine didn't even air--despite the fact that a cameraman followed me around quite a bit...) For those who are local, send me your contact info and I’ll add you to the invite list for my upcoming exhibit at 667 Shotwell, which will dig more deeply into the whole process. Go Mo!