| Arpaio |

Joe Arpaio Plays Simon Cowell in Maricopa County Jail Idol

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will play the role of former American Idol judge Simon Cowell this afternoon as the token prick on a panel of judges rating the talent of up-and-coming singers.

The contestants in this case are criminals, and the winner is more likely to go to prison than to Hollywood.

In a press release from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, which is prefaced with "in a move likely to make Ebenezer Scrooge smile," the MCSO announced that this afternoon, the sheriff will be hosting an American-Idol-esque singing contest, at which inmates will sing Christmas carols in a competition where the prize is an edible Christmas dinner.

The MCSO says about 50 pre-trial inmates, with alleged crimes ranging from DUI to murder, signed up to compete to win a "real" Christmas dinner, complete with off-the-bone turkey, real mashed potatoes, and Christmas cookies -- a treat not usually served in Joe's "tough but humane" jails.

The typical Christmas dinner in Joe's jails "vaguely resembles an average Christmas meal," but is made with donated food.

Joe could "donate" a turd, put it on a plate, and it would probably still be better than his "loaf."

Of the 50, 10 finalists were selected by jail staff. They will perform for three judges, including Arpaio, Santa, and "Elfis, the singing detention officer."

The contest will be held at the Fouth Avenue Jail this afternoon. Arpaio plans to videotape the show and play it for the entire inmate population on Christmas Day. (Ahem) That should do wonders for the competing inmates' street cred.

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