Thursday, January 29, 2009

American Idol

For the most recent stop on the ADSR 4 Race, we were to scraplift one of our scrapping idols. See post here. I've had some inquiries for more information so I thought I'd share my recollections from Jeremy's 2004 pursuit of being the next American Idol.

It started in early August with his competing in the Iowa Idol at Valley West Mall.

I believe it was eight semi-finalists were selected to perform at the Iowa State Fair on the Bill Riley Stage on opening day. Jeremy was competitor number 6. The crowd went crazy and the whole place was on their feet. It was a fantastic feeling. The winner of this competition (Jeremy) received tickets to Las Vegas and was guaranteed an audition.

Sometime between his first performance at the Valley West Mall and the Iowa State Fair competition, Jeremy and I took a road trip to St. Louis to audition. We arrived around 12:30 a.m.; line ups were not to start until 6 a.m. But people were already lined up so we gathered up our sleeping bags, pillows, and stuff and staked out our place on the cement in front of the arena. It was a lot of fun, but sometime during the night I had dozed off only to about get stampeded when a couple yahoos decided to jump the line and everyone started surging forward thinking the doors were opened. Around 7 a.m. they opened the doors (a whole day earlier than planned but it was quite hot outside). We spent the remainder of that day and night camping out inside the arena.

As for the actual audition--it is not what the TV let's you think the process is. The judges are not even there. Each contestant can only have one other individual with them. The arena was completely packed. The contestants are lined up by section and taken to a separate room (St. Louis) or down to the arena floor (Las Vegas). They are lined up in groups of three across. There will be approximately 12 tables with assistant producers at each table and in groups of three you would go up to one table and sing your 30 second song. So at any given second you have at least 12 people singing with people in the stands talking all at the same time. Crazy. If the judges like what they hear and see, you will be asked to come back later that day. They then narrow it down even more and those individuals will be asked to come back for the judges on another day. In St. Louis the judges wouldn't be back for about 2 weeks as I recall. In St. Louis he didn't make it past round one. It was interesting to talk to the people. There was a girl in St. Louis that had competed for the Missouri Idol and won and she was given a NEW CAR!

Well back to the Iowa Idol...Jeremy won at the Iowa State Fair and received his ticket to Las Vegas. I joined him, along with his friend Richard Zhu, who flew in from New York. This time we didn't have to camp out. We just took a taxi to the venue the morning of the audition. They had a special area set aside for all the Fox affiliate winners. This venue was not prepared for the crowds. They had one concession stand open for thousands of people. I stood in line 40 minutes to get Jeremy a bottle of water. Again Jeremy didn't make it past round one, but it was lots of fun.

You know when you see during the audition shows lots of contestants singing the same song? They hand out the lyrics (no music) and if selected, you will be asked to go in front of the Idol banner and sing it. They then make it look like they are in front of the judges singing it.