Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Got my American Idol Moment

After a year-long wait my friend finally got two tickets to see a taping of American Idol.

I usually only watch the beginning of the season and then the last few weeks. I'm fickle like that, I admit it. My favorite of this bunch was Siobhan and Lee. Siobhan was eliminated last week, but Lee's still going strong. I think he has gotten better since I saw him last, in the top 24.

Turns out she only got tickets for the dress rehearsal, but I was still in, why not. It's one of the great perks of living where we do.

We arrived at CBS studios at 12 p.m. dressed "trendy and hip with closed-toe shoes" per the guideliness she received with the tickets. The line at the Genosee gate was already about 50 deep, so we took our place to wait.

Waiting at another gate, not far from ours, were those going to see Dancing with the Stars. To attend that show you have to dress like you're going to prom. Wow. Lots of stilettos, glitter and hairspray happening!

We are set to wait an hour or more, in the sun, to just get into the next waiting area. Finally at about 1:30 p.m. we walk single-file through the metal detector, no phones or cameras. Then we wait another hour and a half on benches outside the set. However, they do have a water cooler and port-a-potties for us, it isn't all bad. We get acquainted with those around us and even run into someone my friend knows, it's a small world.

Finally at 3 p.m. we go inside. I'm surprised that I'm really quite excited. All of the waiting really builds anticipation. We file in, like good school kids, and are are seated right behind the judges table. If this were the live show we would have been on camera the entire time. This is usually where the family and friends of the contestants sit.

It is just magical to be there, to see in person what you only usually see on tv. I was instantly surprised at how very small the set is. It's amazing how much smaller it is in person. I could hear murmurs of the same thought echoing in those around us. Someone even said, "I could sing here, what's the big deal." But once the turn on the lights, wow! The set is transformed. Since most of it is metal and mirrors it becomes gigantic, foggy and scary. Now I can see why they're nervous.

The actual performance area this week is only about 15' x 12'. The majority of the stage space is taken up with the band. It is Sinatra week after all and we'll get to see Harry Connick, Jr, the mentor, who will be on hand to rehearse with Ryan. Harry is funny, charming and oh so hot in person. He doles out a few hugs and autographs to the pit. Very congenial and nice.

In total, rehearsal takes about an hour. Most of the taped segments of the show aren't ready. We hear lots of banter back and forth between Ryan and the staff. He's really quite funny. He interacts a bit with the audience and trade one-liners.

Each contestant goes through the songs and are given last minute instructions on where to sit and run through sample questions from Ryan. The judges were not there, we instead saw their stand-ins who always offer positive feedback to the contestants working out last minute kinks in their songs.

As a person who loves to see how it all happens, I was in my glory. We tried to get tickets to the real show, but we didn't get from the set to the next line in time. We did however return to On Camera Audiences to put on names on the waiting list again.

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

Really fun to read this! I loved that they told you how to dress and the visual of the DWTS audience fashion requirements is too funny!

Back in the day, this little Southern Californian got to see a taping of Laverne and Shirley and as part of that, got to see the Happy Days set too. Woo!