Karaoke Video Game Turns Players Into American Idols

If you're an "American Idol" wannabe who couldn't make the cut, karaoke has come to the rescue.

Japanese video game maker Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. (KNM) has introduced a new way to indulge your inner Madonna by plugging a microphone into your Sony (SNE) PlayStation and going tonsil-to-tonsil against friends in a virtual version of the hit TV show.

"Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol " gives frustrated crooners the chance to run the gauntlet of auditions, performances and ultimately the verbal lashing of digitalized judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson.

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It even lets players create a three-dimensional image of their own head so they can put their best side forward.

The game, released Tuesday in the U.S., fuses American pop culture with possibly Japan's most insidious export — karaoke. And by accommodating up to eight contestants, its 40-song lineup guarantees an earful.

"Harnessing the unique personalities of Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson, the judges will critique specific aspects of the player's performance through fully-voiced commentary," Konami said in a release. "Comments from the judges and popularity with the crowd will determine whether the player moves on to the next round of the competition."

Konami, most renowned for its "Frogger" video game, is selling "American Idol" for $39.99, though a version bundled with its own USB headset and microphone costs $54.99. The game is compatible with the Sony PlayStation 2.

The soundtrack includes classics and hits spanning the past four decades, including such toe-tappers as "It's Not Unusual," "Love Will Keep Us Together," and "Hungry Like the Wolf."