Inmates to sing for judges' consideration

March 22, 2007 at 8:23 PM

PHOENIX, March 22 (UPI) -- Singing like a canary is a good thing for six contestants in the Maricopa County, Ariz., jail "Inmate Idle" competition.

"Inmate Idle" is the brainchild of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who sees making the jailhouse rock as an exercise in team- and esteem-building among the population of the Phoenix facility, according to the sheriff's office's Web site.

More than 100 inmates -- all non-violent offenders -- auditioned over the last three weeks, showing off their singing talents. Now the final six -- singing tunes from Otis Redding to Garth Brooks to Creed -- prepare for the final, live competition Friday.

Just like its "American Idol" counterpart, "Idle" has viewer voting, though the 10,000 viewers are a captive audience.

And let's not forget celebrity judges. Besides himself, Arpaio said rocker Alice Cooper has agreed to judge the contest and former NBA star Charles Barkley was considering it.

Emceeing the performance will be Bob Hilton from the Dick Clark Co., which Arpaio said is considering a national talent show based on the idea.

Costs associated with "Inmate Idle" are paid from the Inmates Service Funds, Arpaio said, not taxpayer money.

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