Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Breaking News: Paula Abdul to be judge on Iranian Idol


Al-Jazeera, the Arabic television network, is about to announce a big coup. After weeks of intense negotiation, Al-Jazeera has arranged with Iranian authorities to televise the trials of the 100 Iranian dissidents as a reality talent show, called Iranian Idol, generally copying the format of the immensely popular American Idol.

Instead of singing or dancing, which are frowned on by pious Muslims, the aspiring talents will be asked to write poems, the great Iranian art form, extolling the virtues of secular democracy and why it is better than an Islamic Republic.

The judges were originally to comprise five old, bearded clerics of profound Islamic learning, but as a belated sop to women, the Iranian government decided to include one female. However, as no females have any authoritative religious standing in Islamic society, Al-Jazeera cast around for a woman with both judging capabilities and experienced with talent. To their great good fortune (or perhaps the intervention of Allah), Paula Abdul announced that she would no longer be a judge on American Idol.


An inside source claims she has signed a one year contract with Al-Jazeera, subject to some conditions.

She is not to discuss politics, religion or any other weighty subject on the show, basically a no-brainer for Ms. Abdul. Her role is simply to critique the poems on their artistic merit. She will also be required to wear suitable Islamic attire, covering her body from head to toe, leaving only her eyes completely stark naked. And lest the clerics prove to be not as old as they look, she will be given a separate seat and table, just behind them, a little to the left, so that she can still be seen by the cameras and the live audience, but not by the ayatollahs.

Just like the other talent shows in the West, the Iranian public will be permitted to vote, but its vote will not override the vote of the clerics and Ms. Abdul should it differ.

The winning poem will grant the successful dissident a swift execution, likely by beheading, but possibly by hanging. The details have not been worked out. The two runner-ups will receive life sentences in a jail to be yet determined, but the inside scoop is it will be the one with the most up-to-date torture facilities in Iran. All other contestants will be given 10-year sentences in a jail of their choosing, and all entrants will receive a free gift of 100 lashes.

With the addition of Abdul, Al-Jazeera is now contemplating syndication of the show in worldwide markets.

The poorly performing economy of Iran is alleged to be behind the decision of the authorities to co-operate with the talent show. The state receives an undisclosed share of the revenues from the international television broadcast rights. Al-Jazeera is hoping the show will prove as popular in the Islamic world as American Idol and its offshoots have in the western world

An official joint announcement is expected shortly. Telephone calls to Ms. Abdul’s manager have not been returned.

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