Apple launching music competition series American Voice Factor on iTunes, truTV

This satirical, fictional story is part of the April 1, 2011, edition of reality blurred. Happy April Fool’s Day.

Apple will use its iTunes software to host a singing competition modeled after American Idol, The X Factor, and The Voice called American Voice Factor, and it will air episodes both online and on truTV.

Singers will audition by uploading video to iTunes, where new technology will screen their audition immediately. If it is less grating than Katy Perry’s “Firework,” the contestant will move on to the next stage, where he or she will gather as many “like”s as possible on iTunes’ social network Ping. Because iTunes barely functions on PCs, an Apple insider said that the company expects auditioners to be smart, creative, interesting, financially solvent people with reality television-worthy senses of entitlement and superiority who own Macs and are thus so slavishly devoted to Apple that they actually use Ping.

Two episodes will air on truTV each week, and be available for download immediately afterward. truTV signed on only once they could be assured that a majority of the episode would be recreated and scripted, thus allowing them to keep their motto “it’s not true, it’s tru.”

No producers have been hired, which an Apple spokesperson said was intentional: “At Apple, we have the built-in advantage of being able to produce a shitty first season, because everyone knows that our first-generation products are inferior in order to make sure people buy the second-generation product. We’re applying that kind of creativity to television.”

Network executives expressed surprise that Apple would produce a shameless copycat of their shameless copycats. An anonymous executive said, “Viewers expect network executives’ crippling insecurity to produce similar series, which allows us to feel like we’ve pandered to the lowest of lowest common denominators while lamenting how viewers are fleeing to cable. But this is an outrage.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.