Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Saga Continues

Diary of an American Idol Experience
Part the Second - Audition Day
Sunday, September 3, 2006

We got carded on Beale Street as we waded through the partiers leaving the clubs and bars on our way to the FedEx Forum. Kinda funny, but Beale Street is rather scary at 3:30 in the morning.

Made it to the Forum and got back in line. Funny - we were in pretty much the same spot as we had been on Friday. And had some of the same line-buddies, too.

Commenced the waiting.

Around 7 am the line started moving. And it was a steady move straight up to the steps of the building, where the camera crew was waiting to get some crowd shots for the Memphis audition show opening. About an hour of cheering and yelling such things as "Welcome to Memphis!"; "Memphis Rocks!"; "American Idol Season 6 Starts Now!" (because they'll pick the audition town with the most enthusiasm to be the first show aired); and "I'm the next American Idol!", and then we got to go inside and find our seats.

From the moment we reached the seats, they started drilling the song they wanted the crowd to sing into our heads - Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee." Before Sunday, I didn't know the song at all...but after an hour of it being looped on the loud speaker and having to sing along, and then having to sing it over and over and over and over a cappella for the cameras, I now hate the song with a passion that burns like the fires of a thousand suns. Yeah. That bad.

After they got the footage of the song they wanted, we got to yell some more - "Welcome to Memphis!" (again); and my personal favorite (*Sarcastic grin*) "You ain't nuttin' but a hound - dawg!" (for Randy of course).

They also wanted shots of the crowd singing along and dancing to Queen - "Another One Bites the Dust." I don't know if that's going to be the "Bad Day" of Season 6 or what, but if it is, I can add another song I once loved to the pile of overplayed songs that I change the radio station after hearing the first 3 chords of. I didn't stay in the crowd for this song - they wanted us to disco, and I know my rhythm limitations. The camera would have zoomed in on the chick in the front of section 103 that was falling all over herself, and I would have been infamous. So I decided it was time to hit the snack bar. M joined me when they started setting up the tables for the auditions. The concession stands in the FedEx Forums had to have held auditions for the slowest most incompetent workers for this particular event. Granted, there were like, 20,000 people there, but we weren't ALL in the same line for food - or even at the same stand! I am not lying, I waited in line from 10 am to 12 pm for food. We got 2 chicken strips w/fries and 2 large Pepsi's. Total cost? $27.00. Yeah. But after 9 hours since eating anything at all (and that only being a handful of Wheat Thins), those were some dang good chicken strips.

About 10 minutes after we got back to our seats, our section was called down for auditions. I stayed where I was and watched. They had 16 tables down on the floor of the FedEx Forum, with a producer at each table. They went by sections, so the section number on your ticket was what determined when you would audition. If we had known that, we wouldn't have bothered being there so freakin' early. They were lining people up 4 at a time at each table. Each person would get to step up to the table and sing for 10-30 seconds, then step back for the next person to go. If you made it through, they sent you through the tunnel on the right. If it was "thanks but no thanks", up the stairs to the left and out the building.

M went first in his little group. Sang for the whole 30 seconds. Everyone else in his group only got 10. I watched from a distance, my stomach in total knots, still unsure of what I wanted to happen. I mean, we had stood in line for-freakin'-ever for this, and it would be a bummer for it to all be over here. But still, how on earth would we survive financially if he did go on? I prayed. For whatever would be best for us. For peace in my heart to deal with whatever outcome God saw fit.

All 4 in M's group went up the stairs. It was over.

I worked my way up and out to meet him at the front entrance. Here's what they told him:

"You have a fantastic voice."
"You look like a star."
And, then my absolute favorite comment..."but it's not what we're looking for for Season 6."

Read: you are neither the next American Idol, nor are you freak enough to be good for ratings.

So, he didn't make it. That's better than making it simply because you're such a freak that you'll boost the show's ratings, right? Besides, at least now he can say he's tried out for American Idol. It was a life experience.

He actually still has next year, but if he decides to do this again next year, I think that's grounds for divorce.

No comments: