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by Marc “Moose” Moder

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Last year I had the distinct pleasure of guest judging Windy City Gay Idol. While the talent in Chicago was often better than on TV's American Idol, I wanted to give some advice as someone who's been in the industry for over 20 years. (The competition begins with the first event at The Glenwood on Wed., April 6.)

If you think it's been done before, don't do it. A big mistake is either doing a song so familiar (anything by a diva or from a movie soundtrack) or too obscure, that you find yourself tuning out. I know your mother loves it when you sing The Greatest Love Of All, but we've heard it a million times before and many times better, I guarantee.

And while I'm sure you're a great songwriter, save that for a record deal. Let's keep it familiar. The key is picking that off-kilter song that everyone's heard, but no one's done — think less Mariah, and more Pebbles. It should be a Top 40 song or at least a classic. Run it by your mom. If she loves it, we probably won't.

Have fun, but not too much fun. This ain't Fox TV, but it also isn't karaoke. While it's good for a laugh, most of the contestants getting the nerve to sing in front of strangers are serious about what they're doing, and by you "taking the piss out", it's pretty offensive to them, and belittles their shot. If you want to scream your way ironically through a Chumbawumba or Ke$ha track, Bobby Love's has a night for that. As for the "Rachels" of the competition, we're listening, you're good, but you can have some fun too!

Bring a gang. In the end, it is a lot like AI in that it can be a popularity contest. Even if you are the best of the night, if Trixie wants to round up 15 of her pals, and you just bring your mom (sorry, I'm really ragging on your mom tonight!), those votes aren't gonna roll in automatically. And besides, your friends are hot, and I'll need someone to flirt with!

Come see Moose and other WCMG pals as they judge Windy City Gay Idol starting April 6 at various locales around Chicago. See the ad on the back cover for more details.

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