Bob and Maureen Nelson always knew their child, Alex, couldn’t sing. They were just doing what they thought every parent was supposed to do; feign that it’s possible to accomplish anything they set their mind to. “I told my son he could be an astronaut, a football or baseball player, even a famous singer,” explains Maureen, “but apparently when I said he could be a famous singer, he took it to heart.” This led to years of instilling false hope in Alex. Bob and Maureen were always selective with who their son sang in front of. Besides Alex’s half-deaf grandmother, he only sang in the presence of his parents, or alone, in the privacy of their own home. Mr. Nelson says, “At times, the singing could be very disturbing, with my son shrieking and moaning; we even had the neighbors call the police once. I told Alex it was a false alarm.” Then, Bob and Maureen pulled off what would be their biggest triumph yet; Alex singing to a crowd of over 100 people at his 13th, Jewish coming-of-age, birthday party. “We paid-off everyone at his Bar Mitzvah to applaud and compliment him after he sang ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’,” says Mrs. Nelson, “And let me tell ya’, the singing was really terrible, but in the end, it was well worth it. After that, he thought he really was that singer in the band…the one with the hair…George Michaelberg.”
The insincerity struck an all time high when Alex asked his parents if he should try out for American Idol. Mrs. Nelson innocently reveals, “We knew he would most likely be humiliated on national television and mocked on the Twitter and YouToo [YouTube], but we felt we had invested too much time in building up this fictitious confidence that it would be a waste to stop now.” Bob tries to justify his actions by saying, “I was hoping he would just be so dreadful that he would be cut in the preliminary auditions.” The Nelsons knew it would not be easy to tell Alex he was not a good singer, so they decided it would be best to bring him to the audition when it came to their city.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson planned out exactly how they were going to act when their son came out of the audition room after being rejected for his horrendous singing. “I knew we would need plenty of tissues, so I hid a small box in my purse in a spot where I could quickly grab them,” describes Mrs. Nelson. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson even went as far as getting acting lessons. Bob says, “We didn’t want to come off as disingenuous.” Maureen elucidates, “I needed to know how to act shocked and upset when I really wasn’t going to be, and at the same time be angry with the judges’ poor decision in not choosing Alex.”
Alex and his parents went to an audition, wherein Alex surprised his parents by making it to the celebrity-judge riddled, televised audition. “Even though we knew he would never make it, we were still nervous,” says Mr. Nelson. During the audition the Nelsons could hear the ear-splitting shrills through the heavy doors. “I did an interview outside the audition room with Ryan Seacrest and I even told him I wished my son would make it to Hollywood…and I think he believed me,” says Mrs. Nelson. Predictably, Alex came out crying after being eliminated. His mother Maureen was prepared with tissues and an excess of astonishment. Maureen and Bob were questioning the judges, the producers of the show and just in general, spewing skepticism at the cameras.
Mr. Nelson summarizes, “I think it went very well, both Maureen and I remembered what those acting lessons taught us and followed all the steps of the plan we made. Before we even got to the car, we had Alex convinced he was an incredible singer and to tryout again next year.”