I've debated posting this. Even started writing it and stopped a few times. There isn't really an end to my story- really just a whole lot of middle so I didn't see any point in writing about it. But in the end- I'm doing it for the 2010 hopefuls- because I did so many searches online to try and find someone who could explain to me what my audition for American Idol was going to be like and found, maybe, one that helped. So this is for you, future Idol Auditioners! Warning: there are some embarrassing photos to follow of myself- ones I will most likely regret posting on this vast web world- and also, this will have pretty much nothing to do with photography. (all images were shot on Tim's point and shoot..sorry about the quality ;) )
So! Showed up to register on Monday June 29th with maybe 30 other people- if that. Waited in a very short line, got my wrist band and ticket for the next day and was told to show up at 5AM. Uh? What's that? Ohhh... 5AM..... yeah is that really necessary? The man with the wristband says, "If you want to fight for a parking space and don't want to have to wait for a long time to get in... show up at 5AM. Trust me." First thing I say to Tim and Heather (my support team and best est friends) as we're walking away, "We're not showing up at 5AM." I wasn't taking this whole thing very seriously and am honestly just a huge fan of the show who can sing pretty decently. After much discussion we decided to leave the house around 7. Let me tell you folks- we could have left at 10 ... no 2! and been fine. Upon arriving, at 7:30ish, we promptly found a parking space and pretty much walked right in to the Rose Bowl! NO PROBLEM. They spent the next 2 hours or so taping crowd shots. Tim and I were forced to stand up, clap, sing Pinks "So What!" at the top of our lungs, and yell things like, "I'm the next American Idol!" or "Welcome to Los Angeles!" We were dying. But hey! When in Rome.... The most disappointing thing about this part of the day was NO RYAN SEACREST! I thought for sure he'd make a little cameo to film something dumb but no- just Tim, myself, and 11,000 other people. Oh yeah, and it was HOT.
So when all that finished we waited. And waited. Considered going home and coming back. It was hot...So we headed up to the little bits of shade at the top of the stadium and watched people across the stadium either get their gold ticket or not. Somewhere around noon Tim started getting pretty pumped about getting a hot dog and nachos or something like that- so we headed out to the concessions for some food. People were singing- singing EVERYWHERE. In the bathroom, in the stands, in line, over in the corner by the entrance, in groups, alone, at the top of their lungs, quietly to themselves, with a guitar, acapella- you name it. I haven't heard so many BAD singers in one place EVER- but you know, I haven't heard so many good ones in one place too- I was pleasantly surprised. There were some serious belters, there were some opera queens, some rock types- these auditions had it all.
I was feeling pretty good!
Then....At about two, I started breaking down. I was begging Tim to take me home. Remember, I love what I do! I don't necessary even want to be an American Idol and it was really starting to feel like a waste of a day. Below are the text messages I sent to Heather at my lowest point: (you're catching the sarcasm, right?)
1:40:43 : This is horrible Heather, I hate you.
1:43:43 Seriously, it kind of feels like torture.
(Heather asks "How much longer?") 1:44:44 Oh like, FOUR HOURS.
1:46:32 I would leave if Tim would let me.
1:48:58 I don't know, I am in a bad sun stroked place right now.
I made Tim take that photo- I swear. I wanted to document how pissy I was.
So I think I said something irrational like, "That's IT. We have to find some shade. This is crazy! They should at least give us water- I mean, come on! I'm DYING." So we found shade outside and continued waiting. As you can see below I started to feel a little better... despite the hair issues.
Now the thing to know about this round, for you 2010 hopefuls, is that there is no Randy, Paula, or Simon. You sing in front of groups of producers who may or may not make any type of eye contact with you. You wait- all day- then stand in a line, then you are put into groups of four. When you finally make it around the stadium to the tents where you audition you hand in your paperwork and march into battle. People are singing all around you and it's really hard to keep focused.
At this point I was thankful to finally be singing but strangely started to take it seriously so I started getting nervous. I can sing- pretty well I think- I used to do theater and have experience performing in front of people but I haven't auditioned for anything since I was 18! If only I could have recorded the inner dialogue I was having it would have gone something like this:
"Stop it! This is so dumb, this is just a dumb audition that 11,000 other people went through today. Who cares if you don't make it! It has nothing to do with your self worth- you are just doing this for the experience- REMEMBER! Shoot what are the first words of my song. Crap! What if I have to sing a 2nd song? What are the first words of that song? Ugh, why am I doing this? I should have just gone home- but.... what if I make it.....?"
So anyway, I was third up in my group- I sang Let Him Fly by the Dixie Chicks and then stepped back into line. The fourth girl sang and then they asked me to sing a second song. I sang Someone To Watch Over Me, knees shaking, and then they called us all up to the table and said, "Thanks so much for coming, some great auditions, but not what we're looking for this season." And WHAM you're told to walk around the tent and out of the stadium! So here's where I can totally relate to the crazies that beg to sing over or start bawling or do those horrible exit interviews where they are crying and frantically saying, "I'll be back! Just wait!!!" After 10 or so hours in the sun, I am not going to lie- I was bummed that I had nothing but an experience to show for it. At the last minute- I actually kind of wanted to get through. I almost said, "Tim! Let's book a flight to the Denver audition! I know how to do this now!" Alas, I'm holding on to the fact that they asked me to sing a 2nd song and am definitely NOT going to do it again. :) However, I will say that it was a great experience- I am so glad I can check it off my list of things to do... been there- done that. When you liberate yourself from a day job, life's possibilities are endless and I plan on taking advantage of all of them! It was a fun, if not just memorable, day that Tim and I spent together! I'm pretty proud of myself for getting up the courage to do it and can't wait to watch next season with just as much vigilance as last season.
It had been a long day- trust me, you don't want to see it. ;)
So after all is said and done, if you are going to audition I would recommend getting to the first registration day at the crack of dawn. Sleep over if you have to- that way you know you'll be one of the first to go on the audition day and won't have to wait all damn day long to sing for 30 seconds. And don't show up at 5AM... seriously folks- it's just a tv show.