By Kerrie Mitchell
Updated June 21, 2010 at 05:28 PM EDT
Credit: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Photodisc/Getty Images

Image Credit: VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Photodisc/Getty ImagesThe next edition of American Idol is all ready to start chugging away, with season 10 auditions kicking off July 17. (Be sure to read Michael Slezak’s despairing post about the decision to lower the minimum age to 15.) Among the hallowed, music-mad cities that are hosting Idol hopefuls: Nashville, Tenn., New Orleans, La., Austin, Texas, and…East Rutherford, N.J.

I sense you’re laughing. You should stop. East Rutherford — like much of New Jersey — has a long, storied history of disrespect, living as it does in the shadow of New York City. But the facts are these: The city is home to the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which includes the new Giants Stadium and the Izod Center (where the Idol auditions will take place). The New York Giants and the New York Jets don’t even acknowledge their New Jersey-ness in their names, and even the Meadowlands teams that do can’t burnish East Rutherford’s reputation. At one point in 2003, both the New Jersey Nets basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team were vying for their respective championships and, according to the NY Times, the mayor still had to deal with questions from reporters who asked “What is East Rutherford?” (The Nets are in the process of leaving the Meadowlands, and, eventually, the state, but surely one cannot blame the people of East Rutherford.) Now that Idol is planting a flag in New Jersey soil, can we all rise up in defense of East Rutherford as the new MusicTown U.S.A.? Anyone?