Oh just stop it. Now. Who said you could sing? Seriously, which family member told you your off-key bleating, Play-Doh face and ill-fitting factory-outlet casuals are just what the public wants?

The new season of Australian Idol began this week. Reportedly, some 50,000 misguided souls applied for an audition, for their chance to show us all just how determined they are to become a star. Determination, you see, is all that matters. Just look at Kasey Chambers. She’s not even pretty enough!

The first episode of auditions was alternately tragic and chilling. While some entrants were clearly after just 15 seconds of fame -“ a shot of notoriety among their mates -“ they were greatly outnumbered by those who truly believe two strangled verses of some wretched rock ballad and a bit of fist-pumping are enough to secure a contract.

But for all the nauseating vowel movements, without doubt the worst moment came during the audition of an Asian boy called Flynn. It began with an extended interlude in which the judges struggled with his name: How do you pronounce that? Flynn. Fling? Flynn! Fling?? Then Flynn launched into a predictably appalling rendition of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, complete with spasmodic dance moves.

What made this a truly embarrassing moment in Australian TV was not that Flynn failed to hit a single note, but rather the cynical attempt by the producers to replicate the novelty success of William Hung, the tone-deaf, Asian, would-be American Idol.

As the show’s own website asks, is this The New William Hung? No! Why would you want one? It was painfully apparent that this country is girt by a sea of talentless young people blinded by ambition. There’s no need to orchestrate failure.

As for Flynn himself, I had the strong impression that he decided to abandon his dignity as if it were an impediment to success. He had no chance of becoming an Idol, so he chose Loser. His faux-noble admission of defeat -“ a cheap facsimile of Hung’s genuine statements after his dismissal -“ made me want to reach into the television and slap him. Hard. With one of Delta Goodrem’s ARIAs.

As if being force-fed American culture weren’t bad enough, we’re now scavenging for leftovers. Sadly, there’s no shortage of participants eager to share their self-delusion, then embrace their own disgrace.

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