Ahoy, campers! It's that time of year again. We're so thrilled to have all 226 of you here for another exciting summer at Camp Should-A-Been, the best, most unusual, and definitely snarkiest music camp in all of America!
Let's send a big shout-out to our 36 tenderfoots from Season Eight, who'll be bunking with us for the very first time. We know you've heard a lot about CSAB from your friends, and we're here to assure you that it's mostly lies. For example, leading metaphysicists have proven conclusively that death is indeed a slightly worse fate, unless you happen to be sitting between the Roman brothers of Season Three as they're warming up for their performances, in which case you might as well go ahead and off yourself. At worst, you'd be breaking even.
Welcome too to our 194 returnees from the previous seven seasons. As you all recently discovered, the ultra-fine print of your American Idol contracts compel you to return to Camp Should-A-Been every single summer that we're in operation. What's that you're shouting at your agent, Sanjaya? "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!!"? Son, first of all, the ratings for that show tanked weeks ago, and two, there's not a cell phone tower within 50 miles of here. You're just screaming in frustration at a soft, tuneless static drone, which is sort of ironic when you stop and think about it. Anyway, you returning folks won't be competing this year, but don't worry - we'll find jobs for all of you. Indentured servitude is the 19E way!
And speaking of our evil overlords, a hearty Camp Should-A-Been welcome to Simon Fuller and the entire production staff of American Idol! They'll be staying with us too, primarily to keep an eye on things. Seems the lads from London were a bit perturbed at how the real Season Eight played out, and they want to be sure the replay finishes more to their liking. They even helpfully brought 500 copies of The Official Camp Should-A-Been Season Eight Replay Script, Which Had Better End In An Adam Lambert–vs.–Danny Gokey Finale This Time Around Or Else You're All Fired! Which reminds us, campers – the most excellent bonfire for our First Night marshmallow roast is roaring outside and ready to go!
See, this is Camp Should-A-Been. Scripts? We don't need no stinkin' scripts. We run the purest form of competition. Every AI episode is replayed just as it took place originally, but with a few important twists. First and most importantly, the contestant with the lowest approval rating every night is eliminated...period. No voting, no manipulation, no excuses. Each round is put-up-or-shut-up, and it matters not a whit how well you sang in the past or how well you'd sing in the future if we let you stay.
Sometimes this means that a contestant who was sent home in real life gets to advance here at Camp. What do we do in that case? We use a mathematical formula to estimate their future approval ratings, starting with their average rating at the point they were dismissed. It's a slow decline, and the rate changes from summer to summer as our database grows. When their rating decays to the point where they can't outsing anyone on a given night, then and only then do we bid them adieu.
There are a few other rules and regulations, but we won't go into them now. You can read our original 2008 introduction to Camp Should-A-Been, or you can just check the Library to see how the first seven replays unfolded. Season Eight presents a few new challenges, in particular the duets of the Final Four episode and the new Judges' Save rule. We'll deal with them when the time comes.
So far, just two real-life winners have successfully defended their crowns: Kelly Clarkson and David Cook. Kris Allen will attempt to become the third, but he'll have to fight off strong challenges from Lambert, Gokey, Allison Iraheta, and the rest of the AI8 crew. And we do mean all of them. Unlike our friends at the corporate office, we don't do cannon fodder around here. Some of those semifinalists who were given only one chance on your TV screen may get many, many more opportunities on your computer monitor. If the producers were unhappy at the order of finish this spring, wait until they see what summer has in store for them.
All set? Be sure to get here early as we kick matters off with the AI8 Group One semifinal show, beginning Sunday, June 21st. We'll have a new episode online every night except Saturdays, with the Replay Finale slated for Tuesday, July 7th. The winner gets sprayed by an angry skunk; the 35 losers get to group-sing No Boundaries on national TV. The way we look at it, the skunk odor eventually wears off. See you Sunday.
- The WNTS.com Team