If Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, or Led Zeppelin were to audition for American Idol today, would any of them have earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood?
The short answer to that, according to hit songwriter Linda Perry, star of VH1's Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project, is a resounding "no." To make her point, Perry and wife Sara Gilbert enlisted singer-actor-radio host Michael Des Barres to lampoon the FOX singing show with a hilarious video, entitled “American’t Idol."
Disguising herself in sunglasses and a wig, Perry takes on the persona of vacuous pop star Blue Stone, a judge more interested in self promotion and checking her iPhone while would-be stars audition. Gilbert is the author of a book, Eat to the Beat (nice Blondie reference), "the cookbook that will change your life," while Des Barres takes on the Simon Cowell role.
When Dylan vies for his shot at the title with his audition song, "Tangled up In Blue," Des Barres cringes. "Words in music is terribly important," he tells the singer-songwriter. "Your lyrics are ridiculous."
Gilbert sheepishly comments that she isn’t in the music world, but offers this advice: "You wear your hat so low on your eyes, ... if the audience can’t connect to your eyes, we can’t feel you." Another problem, she adds, the voice isn’t commercial. "Stick to songwriting," says Gilbert, who advises him to find his inner Katy Perry while Blue Stone spends the entire time taking selfies, and then says the song is great because it mentions the color blue.
As for Joplin’s audition of "Cry Baby," Stone’s words sting. "My guru teacher told me, Blue don’t ever sing when you are feeling emotional," she says. Gilbert tells Joplin to sex it up, and brand the song as a kid’s number.
Of course, Perry voices her overall disdain for singing shows via a voiceover at the end. "When you are done with this bullshit and you want to watch a show that is actually about music, come watch Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project on VH1," she says.
As for Blue Stone? Her album comes out Sept. 22.
- This article originally appeared in THR.com.