Top five ways to win 'American Idol'

Lady J sings her way to the top

To most of us, "American Idol" is a big joke that stopped being funny several seasons ago. But to hopefuls such as Jordan Minter, the franchise is still a potential launchpad for her wildest dreams. Known as Lady J, she sings background for some of Atlanta's underground idols, such as singer/songwriter Jahi Kearse. But she'd gladly give it all up for a chance at super McStardom. Lucky for her, she'll get the chance when "Idol" judges turn up at the Georgia Dome to hold auditions Aug. 14. Here's some bad advice from your good ol' CL music editor. Don't do anything he would do.

1) Break a leg: Literally. You can start with Ryan Seacrest's.

2) Kill Simon Cowell: With kindness, that is. He's a sucker for a little humility. We always desire what we have not.

3) Don't sing Dreamgirls: Whatever you do, don't sing that depressing "And I Am Telling You ..." song. You'll look like a loser.

4) Punch the Dawg: If Randy Jackson addresses you as "dawg," don't hesitate to punch him in his gastric-bypass gut and scream: "Who you callin' a bitch?" — Queen Latifah-style.

5) Feel Paula's pain: Paula Abdul is a sucker for tears. She's always shedding them on her reality show. If you really want to nail the audition, tell her how much you sympathize with her struggle as a withering celebrity.

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