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2007's Weirdest Stories: American Inmate Idol

Prisoners Give Judges the Old Song and Dance


In this version of American Idol, Simon Cowell would be the wimpiest guy in the room -- and winners can't go on to stardom until they come up for parole.

Welcome to American Inmate Idol, a version of the hit Fox reality show, where more than 100 hardened criminals performed, and one of them, an Elvis impersonator, sang "Jailhouse Rock."

The contest, held at Arizona's Maricopa County jail, was the brainchild of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who's tough-as-nails approach to lockup is legendary. He's denied inmates TV, coffee, and has forced them to wear pink underwear, because, apparently, tough guys hate pink undies.

In this contest, Arpaio served as one of the judges, and so did rocker Alice Cooper. The winner and his pod mates got pizza and Big Macs -- but no recording contract.

And, of course, there's been talk of turning the whole contest into a movie.

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