Murphy’s Law – An open letter to the wannabe rocker who cried on American Idol last night

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

Dear Randy Madden,

From the first moment you appeared on last night’s American Idol season premiere in your bandanna, gold chains and sunglasses, ripping open your black dress shirt to expose your waxed bird chest, I knew you were trouble.

In your introduction, you said you were a 28-year-old sales rep for a media company and described yourself as a “rock star in a box.” However, you quickly admitted that you had never had any musical training and were not even in a band, which makes your claims of rock star-dom rather dubious. Outside of the fact that you were dressed like you were on your way to a lame Halloween party, there was nothing rock star about you.

However, your ridiculous attire was enough to get you past the prescreening process and in front of the four American Idol judges, so I salute you for that. But once you got past the formalities with the judges and it was time for you to actually sing, you failed to deliver. Your rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” just wasn’t very good.

Now, if you were a true rock star, once the four judges turned you down, you would have told them all to fuck off before heading out to score some hookers and blow. (Actually, if you were a true rock star, you never would have auditioned for American Idol in the first place, but I digress.) Instead, you began crying and begged the judges to send you through to Hollywood despite your lack of talent.

Did you really think crying was going to get you through to the next round? Did you think that Simon Cowell, a man lacking what humans refer to as compassion, was going to feel sorry for you? Were you surprised that instead of being moved by your tears, he called you a drama queen? And why did you keep alluding to the fact that you were down on your luck and in need of a big break? You work for a media company that lets you dress like a douchebag and that was willing to give you the day off to stand in line with thousands of people to audition for a singing competition. How tough can your life really be? (If you want to know about actual hardship, why not spend a few minutes with that blind guy who auditioned last night – you know, the one who taught himself how to play the piano even though he’s blind.)

As the new judge Kara DioGuardi pointed out: “To get to be big in this industry, it takes a lot of hard work. You haven’t put that hard work in to be here today.”

Lots of people want to be rock stars. We’ve all played Rock Band, standing in our living rooms armed with a cheap plastic guitar pretending to perform in front of a sold out crowd at the Garden. But most people realize that it’s never actually going to happen. Even if you had been playing music in a band for years, had a vocal coach and were out there touring locally, it would still be nearly impossible to get discovered and to make it big.

I’ve spent most of my life wanting to be Batman, but I’m enough of a realist to accept the fact that it isn’t going to happen. I’m 27 years old, I’m broke, my parents are still alive and I haven’t spent my life traveling the globe, training to defeat the scum of Gotham City. I’ve put that dream behind me because I realized that it’s never going to happen and, sadly, deep down I know I don’t have what it takes to make it.

It’s time for you to do the same. True rock stars are forged from adversity. They are driven to play music and sing – it becomes all they live for. Rock stars spend years honing their craft. You are 28 and you have no band and no formal training. Say what you will about that 16-year-old creepy stalker girl in the pink cowboy hat who was obsessed with Kara DioGuardi, but at least she had written over 100 original songs, which shows that she is committed to this American Idol thing (and is probably unstable).

Also – and this is important – true rock stars don’t appear on American Idol and begin crying when the judges reject them. It just doesn’t happen. Rock stars trash hotel rooms and punch photographers; they don’t begin weeping at the drop of a hat. Perhaps you should spend some time with the guy with the insanely deep voice or the burly oil rig roughneck so that you can learn how to man up.

But look, I’m not here to kick you while you are down. I just want you to realize that it’s time to give up your ridiculous dream because it’s never going to happen. But don’t give up hope. You can still have a fun and rewarding life.

After all, last night you said, “I just want someone to tell me that I’m great, that’s all.” Well Randy, you are great. You are great at crying. In fact, you might be the best crier I’ve ever seen. So use that. Give up this whole rock star dream and just be the best damn crier you can be.

Sincerely,
Joel Murphy

P.S. Please take that stupid bandanna off your head and burn it.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.


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  1. Courtney January 14, 2009
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