Sunday, August 1, 2010

OMFG - The American Idol Experience

OMFG - A Look @ Auditioning for American Idol!
Even after nine seasons and becoming a pop culture phenomenon, few fans know the truth
behind American Idol, myself included. However, after recently trying out for the show in
Nashville, I have gained some insight into the inner workings of the search for the next big thing.
From the comfort of their couches, AI fans only see the near end for a select few auditioners.
For me and my friend Jaime, the try out process began on Friday afternoon, when after the four
hour drive to Nashville, we received wristbands and seat tickets at the Bridgestone Arena. Our
Keith Urban look-a-like registrar told us to be back at the arena the following morning at 5 am
and to be prepared to stay all day. So, with books and blackberries in hand, we did exactly that
the next morning. 
Auditioners, along with their friends and family crowded the streets of downtown Nashville. Once the sun had come up, AI producers and cameras arrived outside to take the crowd shots often seen in the beginning of the show. By 7 am, the crowd started filing into the arena to take their designated seats and wait. Once everyone was settled into their seats, more crowd shots were taken. We were given direction after direction: “Ok, now say Welcome to Nashville….Ok, now say Welcome to Music City.” By 9 am twelve tables and partitions were placed on the floor of the arena and the auditions began. 
The AI hopefuls were auditioned in the order of registration. Unfortunately for us, registration began on Thursday morning at 7 am, so from up in the nose bleed seats of the arena we watched as 16,000 people
sang their hearts out. Auditioners are placed in groups of four and are asked to sing in front of
one or two producers of the show. Individuals are given about 30 seconds to sing and then are
asked to step back into their lines. Once all four people in the group have had a chance to sing,
the producers talk and decide who to keep and who to let go. More often than not, a whole
group would be let go at a time. For the first hour of the auditions, no one received a golden
ticket to the next round. Overall, out of 16,000 people, I would estimate that maybe 100 got to
the next round. 
After fourteen hours of waiting, Jaime and I finally got to sing. After waiting so
long and watching the process, we knew that it would be a long shot for us to get to the next
round. For both of us, we received the polite no that goes a little something like this: “Thank you
all so much for trying out, but it’s going to be a no. You are just not what we are looking for.”
With that, your wristband is cut off and you are ushered outside back onto the street where you
started. While we heard that there were a lot of tears throughout the day, Jaime and I were
happy with how we did and happy to finally have to chance to get a beer. The experience was
worth the wait and it will always make for a cool story to tell. 
For the lucky few that did make it through, I can’t be sure what the next step looked like for them. However, I do know that they still had a few rounds to get through before seeing the “real” judges. So, we are still left to wonder how you do actually become an AI contestant. What we do know is that all those bad singers shown on TV are let through and given hope that they might actually make on the
show…..poor bastards.

Post written by Guest Contributor: Stephanie Marsden

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