Now that American Idol is over, it's time to crack open karaoke videogames to get you through another summer of questionable vocals - your own.
The key to "winning" in Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol (PlayStation 2, rated E 10+) is to stay on pitch, just as the judges always say. If you do, the game thinks you're doing great even if you're singing different words, or mumbling.
The screen scrolls lyrics and a meter that tells you exactly when to come in on a note, how long to hold it, and where to use vibrato or change pitch. It's pretty easy to grasp, even for nonmusicians. The game shows a cartoon version of Simon Cowell resting his chin on his hand, and after a performance he's likely to tell you both "Everything was terrible!" and "You made it to Hollywood!"
Idol is fun, but SingStar: Pop (PlayStation 2, rated E 10+) is even better. It has only 30 songs, but it comes with two fantastic microphones. And when songs spin, you see real music videos by the likes of Destiny's Child and Rihanna.