J-Lo’s outfits, the horrible auditions, the crazy, smoky water surrounding the stage. . . yep, American Idol. I have to admit that compared to The Voice, which I love, the show doesn’t really hold up for me anymore. I get pretty tired of the tears and the mediocre singing, oh, and of Steven Tyler hitting on the buxom contestants.

But last night, as I settled in to catch up on email, Facebook, and some other online business, I turned it on, (The show doesn’t exactly require my complete attention for me to follow along.) and it occurred to me that in many ways American Idol (AI) mirrors the life of the writer . . . and not just because of the sequins.

10. Both writers and AI contestants bank a lot on something in which they have invested a lot of time and energy.

9. Sometimes we all break into tears over the stress.

8. Our outfits are all a little absurd, except my shorts are not velvet – they’re men’s boxers with flapped, fleece-lined hats printed on them.

7. All of us have to practice to get a good sense of our voice and range.

6. Social media can affect not only what we do but how successful we are at it.

5. Critique is brutal no matter who you are or who gives it.

4. The hair.

3. Those friends and family in the wings make all the difference.

2. Only so many of us make it to the “Top 24.”

1. When the work goes well, the world seems to dance just for you.

There’s just something amazing about people living their dreams, even if we commercialize them and put them in horrible outfits. (For the record, when J-Lo turns to writing, this comparison will have gone too far.)

Are you an American Idol fan? How does it inspire your work?