by Corinne Purtill
The first few weeks of American Idol used to be an annual treat for me, a sort of post-Epiphany holiday present. These are the episodes in which people whose only gift is a blissful lack of self-awareness get their dreams smashed to pieces on a portable linoleum dance floor. When I had a full-time job with business cards, promotions and occasions to wear important shoes, I would watch these clueless losers belt Pat Benatar like a cat was clawing their vocal chords, and I'd laugh along with America when they looked at the judges with genuine outrage and shouted in their own defense, You don't know nothin' about nothin', Simon, 'cause I got what it takes! But then I quit that job to follow a dream of my own, and now the thought of watching that rejection puts a knot in my stomach. Because how do I know? How do I know if I'm believing in myself and following my dreams and all the stuff you're supposed to do, or if I'm just standing in front of dumbstruck judges, hands on my hips, frog in my throat, shouting You don't know nothin' about nothin', Simon, 'cause I got what it takes!
Corinne Purtill is a writer working on her first book. Her website is here. (The eighth season of American Idol premiered this week on Fox.)