Dear Mr. Motzko,
I just went to Deerfield Idol last week, and to improve my chances of winning next year, I have started thinking of the songs I am going to sing. I want to go with something classic; something that the crowd knows so that they can get involved. I want it to be upbeat, but I don’t want to injure any of the elderly. I am struggling between a pop rendition of “Happy Birthday” and a classical version of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More.” However, these songs just aren’t right. I need your help.
Deerfield Idle Hopeful

Dear DIH (or duh)
I have been called a lot of things in my day: sir, hey you, the defendant, the Silesian Stallion, sugar (primarily by waitresses at Waffle House). However, few know that with the untimely passing of James Brown last Christmas, I have had to assume the weighty velvet-caped mantle of High Priest of Funk. Filling music’s vacuum (and cleaning its filthy carpets) has proven quite taxing, what with all the limo rides, dark glasses and profuse sweating. What weighs heaviest on me is not the searing limelight but the inherent responsibility of herding the promising few away from the Boltonesque depths and on to the high ground of soul. Perhaps I can give you an I-Pass to American Idolatry, allowing me to return to my books and professional Jenga league. First and foremost, you’re going to need the right material lest you do a solo turn of the dénouement from The Emperor’s New Clothes. As far as song subjects go, you simply cannot go wrong with maritime tragedy. Nothing “brings sexy back” like a slow-jam reworking of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Second, once you’ve got the dirge du jour, you’ve got to coat those pipes, lest you undergo a spontaneous vocal modulation on the order of Peter Brady (episode 65 “Dough Re Me”, original airing date January 14th, 1972). Drink a 3 liter bottle of clover honey before you go on and you’ll be set. Or in shock. That said, if you really want to freak their beans, you are going to need to incorporate some of those intangible elements that separate the golden throats from the gutted crows. Non-industrial lasers, dry ice fog, giant inflatable pigs and synchronized albino tigers on bicycles wearing ten-pound beards of bees can cover up the blemishes like a trowel of Clearasil.

Last, always remember to sing from the diaphragm. Using the mouth is optional.

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