Thursday, September 6, 2007

Choking Down Some Chicken Soup

Tales of Faith, Hope, and Inspiration by Contestants Who Have Appeared on the Country’s Favorite Television Program -- American Idol

Singing While They Sneered
by Kelly Clarkson

A year after I won the first American Idol competition, I was invited to tour the country with a contestant who had appeared on the second season of the show. Although he was not that season’s winner, he had developed a large fan base and my management team felt a dual tour would be beneficial to both of our careers.

I must admit, the two of us did not hit it off. I’m a friendly person, interested in meeting people and getting to visit various places in this great country. My traveling companion was more interested in gossip than conversation and preferred watching repeats of The Golden Girls and The Facts of Life on his portable television to looking at the majestic mountains and wide-open prairies outside our bus windows. He also had a hygiene problem and would place his bare, dirty feet on the armrest of my seat. Worst of all: he had obnoxious fans who would ostentatiously put on earphones and turn their backs when I sang during my half of the concert. I thought my touring partner would put an end to this by telling his fans to behave, but instead he encouraged it! Sometimes as I sang, I would see him in the wings wearing his own set of earphones and laughing at me. Other times he’d go down into the audience as I sang and lead his fans in shouting HIS name, thereby drowning out my songs. One night he actually suggested that I cut several numbers from my set because “most of the people in the audience are hear to see me, not you.”

That night I went on stage with tears in my eyes, barely able to choke out the lyrics to my songs. As I looked at all those backs facing me, I vowed that I would someday produce an album so popular that no one would ever turn their back on me again.

Within a year I had recorded that album. It sold over twelve million copies and won me a Grammy. Whenever I am down or depressed, I think about that tour and the vow I made on stage that night. I know that if I could perform before such a hostile audience, I can do anything!

* * *

My Number 2 Hit
by Carrie Underwood

I was the American Idol winner! Wow! I couldn’t have been more excited!

Soon I had a hit single going up the record charts like a speeding bullet. Every morning I’d get up and check to see how my record fared on One day it was 52...the next it was 27...then 13...then 4...then 2. But it stayed in the number 2 position for week after week.

At first I could not figure it out, then someone showed me a website run by fans of a former American Idol runner-up. Encouraged by this runner-up and his mother, these fans had started a campaign to buy an old single of his in multiple quantities in order to keep me off the top of the charts. “This will prove who the true American Idol is!” they said over and over on their website.

I was heartbroken! I was deprived of having my first single become a number one hit all because of their jealousy. That’s when I began praying about this problem. “Jesus, take the wheel,” I prayed, “I’ll let You guide my career in whatever direction You see fit. Number one or number two, I don’t care. ...And please give this other contestant the kind of career he deserves as well.”

It worked! Time has passed and I have had several number one hits, but my nemesis can’t get a song on the charts no matter how many copies his fans buy. His latest album was a series of cover songs and, rumor has it, he will soon lose his recording contract. I imagine it won’t belong until he’s reduced to parking cars in San Fernando Valley.

If I ever show up at an awards show and see this gentleman parking cars, I will not laugh at him or scorn him. I’ll just hand him the keys to my Mercedes and say, “Clesus, take the wheel. And don’t scratch the exterior, hon, or you won’t get a tip.”

* * *

He Said He Could Teach Me
by Fantasia (as told to Jack Canfield)

Every week I would appear on American Idol as if I didn't have a care in the world. Most people were unaware that I had a big secret. I could not read.

One day as I was pretending to scribble my name on the studio sign-in sheet, the runner-up from the past season noticed my problem and told me he would teach me to read and write. He said he had been a teacher "for years and years." I thought I could trust him.

I did not know he was a prankster and the devil in disguise.

First he taught me to write my name. I was so proud! But when I signed it the way he showed me -- F A R T A S I A -- everyone began laughing.

Then he taught me to write a simple sentence. He said the sentence said “Ruben is cool.” But this is how he told me to spell it: RUBEN IS SWEATY.

Then he had me write the sentence “Clay came in second” but he spelled it this way: CLAY WAS THE TRUE WINNER.

When someone saw my practice sentences, they said that this former contestant was playing me for a fool. I immediately kicked him to the curb and found a new teacher. I am learning slowly, but soon I’ll be able to read and write.

The main thing this “teacher” taught me is that there are mean and jealous people in this world that I should avoid. And that sometimes someone will pretend to be your friend, but they really aren’t. When that happens, you spell the word “friend” like this: L O S E R!

* * *

I Had the Last Laugh
by “Keith”

My name is Keith. You may not remember me from American Idol. I didn’t win. I didn’t even make the top twelve. The only time you saw me was during try-outs, when I auditioned for Simon, Randy, and Paula singing “Like a Virgin,” complete with dance moves.

They showed that clip over and over on TV. It was a hit on Youtube. Everyone said I was a laughingstock.

I wondered if I’d ever live it down.

Then this past summer, a former American Idol runner-up went on tour and also performed “Like a Virgin.” He used my same dance moves. But he sounded even worse than I did. AND he did it in front of a symphony orchestra!

Soon HE was the laughingstock of Youtube and people forgot about me.

I am here to tell all of you who are facing bad times that no matter how awful you feel, no matter how badly you screw up...take heart! Eventually someone will come along and make an even bigger jackass out of himself and your problems will seem small in comparison.

* * *

I Had the Last Laugh
by William Hung

I am William Hung -- ha, ha!!! Maybe you laugh when I sing “La Vida Loca” on American Idol -- ha, ha!!! Maybe you laugh when I get record contract and put out album of cover songs -- ha, ha!!! But guess what? Big time Clay Aiken end up recording cover album too -- ha, ha!!! And he don’t get played on radio either! Now who’s got the last laugh -- ha, ha!!!

Now Clay wishes he was Hung.

But his nude webcam photos say otherwise -- ha, ha, ha!!!

* * *

I Once was Lost, But Now I’m Found
by Ruben Studdard

It was the biggest night of my life. I had just been crowned the winner of American Idol! But then the moment was ruined. Instead of a hug or a handshake, my main competitor made a rude remark that was heard by not just me, but all fifty million people watching the finale: "I'll beat you on the charts, Ruben."

The next months were very busy, as I recorded the songs formy first CD. “How does it feel to be the American Idol winner?” I was asked in interview after interview. Frankly, I wasn’t feeling like much of a winner. My main competitor had developed a very large fan base (some might say cult) and these women were harrassing me and my family on a daily basis. Racist comments about me appeared on various websites, and my former friend never asked his fans to stop. Sometimes the phone would wake me in the middle of the night and I’d hear his voice: “I’ll beat you on the charts, Ruben!” Was it a fan playing a tape of his finale-night remarks or was it actually him calling and taunting me? Was it live or was it Memorex? I don’t know and I don’t want to know.

What I do know is that when our recordings were released, his fans went on a buying spree, often purchasing eight or more copies each. They went into stores and moved his CD to a prominent space and hid mine behind the Lawrence Welk records. Then they started campaigns to give his CD to overseas troops, elderly people in nursing homes, and inmates in prisons across the country. The final straw was when they sent copies to every school for the deaf in the United States. You gotta wonder about that. Yes, he did beat me on the charts and soon, wherever I went, his fans would show up mocking me and making the “Loser” hand signal (using their extended index finger and thumb to create the letter L.) He had trained them well.

I really did begin to feel like a loser at that point.

Then one night I was looking at some record reviews my mom had clipped from various newspapers and magazines. And I realized that my CD had gotten great reviews, while my former friend’s CD was not well-received. Soon I was nominated for a Grammy, but my competitor’s name was not on the nominations list.

I realized that I really was a winner in many ways. In fact, I began to feel so good about myself that I actually lost 100 pounds! The last time I saw my former friend, it looked like he was well on his way to finding them. I also couldn’t help but note that his second “covers” album was a critical and popular flop, and that his concerts were being supported by the same 500 women who followed him from city to city.

If that’s what he calls “winning,” then I’m glad to call myself a loser.

* * *

My Words of Advice
by Clay Aiken

Anybody in this business has a responsibility. I know this is going to sound cheesy but, when you get in a position where people are watching you on TV or listening to you on the radio, you have a responsibility not just to entertain them but to society, too. The most important responsibility a celebrity has is to set an example and be a role model. I want to make sure that no matter how long I go through this, I don't fall into the trap of changing and modifying how I do things that aren't a positive example. I want to remain somebody that the entire family can listen to or watch. I have no problem saying I want to be a role model. And if anyone questions my wholesome behavior, my integrity, or my genuineness, then they should kindly shut the fuck up.

Think Globally, Advertise Locally

So it has come to this. Clay Aiken is now doing advertisements for local merchants.

Here's the ad he did for his dentist:

Undoubtedly, Clay's American Idol dream included the goal of being an advertising "spokesmodel" for all kinds of famous products:

"When my hands get chapped from greeting so many people at my busline, I reach for Vaseline Intensive Care. And it has SO MANY uses!" (Big wink at camera.)


"Why do I stay at Quality Inn? Because they make me feel like I'm tops!" (Gives big ol' Freudian thumbs up signal.)


"Sometimes I feel like a Manwich, if ya know what I mean!" (Gives camera a faux-innocent smile.)

But it was not to be. Clay's lack of radio play, his weird fans, and his creepy persona have prevented him from getting any contracts with national advertisers. Still, it comes as a surprise to see him doing ads for this local dentist in Raleigh. How could any dentist afford to pay a superstah salary? We think Henrietta Hater came up with the best theory:

***The phone will be ringing off the hook with new patients, and most of them won't even be local residents. "Hello, dental office? I want to make an appointment. I live in Pocatello, Idaho but I want to get my teeth done there in Raleigh because you were highly recommended by a member of my extended family, Clay Aiken...Yeah, he's a member of my family...sort of. See, I've been to 92 of his concerts, and he took my cell phone once in Philadelphia and said hello to my Aunt Irma. And he always tells us we're all part of his family. What? Oh no, it won't cost me a dime to travel there! I have 35,807,963 frequent flyer miles to redeem."***

Yes, Clay can always be counted on to bring in the mats. (At this very moment a mat in Kansas City is trying to loosen one of her front teeth with a pair of pliers. Another mat in Tampa, Florida is systematically scraping the enamel off her teeth with a fork. Another is poking a paperclip up into her gums. By tomorrow morning, they will all have appointments with Clay's own dentist!) Just think: if this dentist offers Clayton a $1 kickback for every new patient that shows up -- from Pocatello to Pittsburgh -- Clay will soon be rolling in dough.

In fact, doing local advertisements may prove so lucrative that we'll see Clay advertising all kinds of products and services:

When stardom went to Clay Aiken's head and his hat size increased four sizes, we were right there to adjust his old hats and show him the latest in big hats for big heads!

Come to Clay Aiken's favorite Mexican restaurant for the best dry, paste-y, refried mess you ever sank your teeth into!

When Clay Aiken needs a full-body wax, he drops into Amy's Salon for our special American Idol deal. $10 per appendage!

Ever put your hand over someone's mouth and then regretted it? Or needed to apologize for putting your stinkin' size 13 foot where it didn't belong? For those times in life when you need to send an "I'm Sorry Bouquet," contact Mr. Leslie, Clay's Favorite Florist!

Clay Aiken says, "Tan so dark that the only thing we'll be able to see are your teeth!"

"I've been kicked out of some of the best funeral homes in Raleigh," says singer Clay Aiken, "but none lovelier or more attentive to your needs in times of sorrow than Dewey and Sons."

Been picked up the local sheriff? The state police? The FBI on an airplane even though you did nothing wrong and the other woman involved is just a big old bitch? If so, contact Clay's favorite bail bondsman: Buster!

Where Clay Aiken goes for all his musical needs! Special Deal: Buy one Clay Aiken album for $160 and we'll give you seven FREE copies with it!

"My feet don't always smell like 'fresh laundry,'" says local superstar Clayton Aiken. "I go to Dr. Madison for soaking my feet in lye, scraping layers of dirt and dead skin and strange yet-to-be-identified-by-science fungi off my toes, and defumigating my size thirteens!" Stop on in for a free foot-shaped bookmark.

Clay Aiken says, "After a night of cornholing, you might want to visit Dr. Porter! And when I've gotten up to my elbows in some mess, Dr. Porter is always there to help me out!