Saturday, August 9, 2008

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About An American Idol Audition

I've got my bloggin' done easy this evening... Sal has done it for me. lol She's done an excellent job of writing about what happens behind the scenes at an American Idol audition.

A note of warning. This is probably gonna ruin watching the insipidness take place on TV if you happen to be a fan of the show.

Here goes..... A WHOLE LOTTA reading here tonite.


*Sally writing*

All I can say is WHATTA RIDE!

This was such an incredible experience with an absolutely incredible Lady! I see Nicky and Jace were posting and I'm so glad they did. It's so hard to describe this whole thing.

Let me start by telling you, everything, absolutely EVERYthing you see on American Idol is staged. It's all for the ratings and show. There is nothing authentic about the show. Not one thing. The thing that keeps it going is these young people who hang on to the opportunity to get before the cameras and the American people who lap it up.

But, with that being said, WE HAD A BLAST!! Quoting a friend here, "Here's where we remember that the 'journey' can be every bit as important as the destination. This will be a 'journey' that Martina and Sally will always remember!"

Thursday we wanted to do a little shopping and got to talking about how we found out about the parking lot opening at 2 by driving up there. We had a bunch of questions that weren't on the website so we decided to drive up and see if there were any new signs and someone to talk to. We actually got to talk to one of the producers. Sounds impressive but there are about 100 people walking around with headsets on and they refer to them all as producers lol. Anyway, this was Stan. Real nice guy with all the answers. Martina told him she couldn't care less about being on the cameras and just wanted to come in for the audition. He said, "AI is all about being in front of the cameras, it's how they make their show so since you're already here, you might as well get into it and have fun with it, if you're not going to participate there's no sense in coming back." We thot that was a little odd but figured it was a real good way to justify all they sleeping in parking lots, and what the heck - we were there. Went home, she went to dinner with a friend from college and I hung out with Donnie and Debbie and drank wine and sang old Dean Martin songs.

We got back to Kemper Arena at about 4:45, after about 2 hours sleep. (Neither one of us could sleep) They have all their rules on the website that you can't have food, water, instruments, weapons, video cameras (only digital cameras and 35mm) and only what you can carry with you in to audition. If you are caught with anything on their do-not-bring list the person auditioning is automatically disqualified. So we obeyed and brought food for breakfast and as much water as we could carry to last us for the 3 hour wait til the doors opened at 8. And here's where the *experience* begins....

Once the sun starts coming up, they bring the cameras out. One on a big boom that pans the people in the mile long line and others on like golf carts riding around. A bunch of "producers" telling people what they want them to do and running up and down the lines telling people when to yell. Most people were just sitting on their blankets thinking, "let'm yell, I'm not ruining my voice." After about a half hour of this a guy comes on the big speaker microphone and says, "If you are not going to participate, you need to leave right now." And starts getting pissed off and demanding. So everyone stands up and pays attention. They tell the crowd what they're going to yell in unison, count down and the camera starts panning. The lines were kinda stretched out from where people were sitting/laying so they stop the cameras and yell, "People, there are holes in the lines that look bad in the camera, close them up!" and we're just standing there going "huh?" They shut off the whole process, send "producers" out to the lines and they start yelling at people to close up the holes, stand up, move closer together, with the whole MOVE IT PEOPLE!! attitude. People squished up, cameras started rolling. They got pissed off again, stopped everything and told everyone to put their arms in the air, yell and participate, because there were alot of people who were just there to audition and didn't care about this part of it. The guy comes back on the speakers and says, "People, we can't hear you, you're not staying together, not everyone's arms are in the air! Let me tell you right now that the people you see walking around with headsets on (the "producers") are the judges you are auditioning in front of and they WILL remember you and you will not pass your audition if you refuse to participate!".... and they got that shot.

They moved a whole line of people up to the front of the arena and said, "We're doing a shot in front of Kemper and we need bodies up here so even tho you're being moved up here, don't get comfortable, we only need your bodies, you're going back to the end of the line when we're done." They pulled people out of the crowd with signs and put them up there and did the whole deal telling them what they're going to yell together. They got that shot.

They started moving people into Kemper at 8:00. The guy on the speakers announced that inside the door was security officers with metal detectors and they would empty your bags. All food and unapproved items would be confiscated. We're about a half hour from getting in and the guy comes on the speakers and says, "the thing that's holding up the line is all the food they have to take away so please eat it or throw it away NOW." So everyone's dumpin their stuff deciding what they can eat and throw the rest away. When we got up to the door there was this humongous dumpster between the two entrance doors and people were filling it up with full water bottles all kinds of food, etc. Right inside the door is a guy. Just a plain ol' guy with what appears to be a hand held metal detector that he just kinda waved AT me, pulled my bag open and let me go. Didn't even look inside. I coulda been carrying a cannon! At this point people were getting disgusted with the whole thing. Attitudes were running high, which made for some REAL interesting people watching. We were just going with the flow and thrilled to be inside.

It was pretty cool inside the arena. Seeing all the people inside, hearing people warming up their voices, it was just a real neat thing to be in the middle of.

Then the head guy in dreds comes out and tells everyone to quit screwin around, and get in their seats. They have the cameras ready and they're ready to roll. Dreds was going to direct everyone in singing 2 songs in unison as a crowd. "Sign, Sealed, Delivered" and another one that has totally left my head right now. Once he got everyone in unison, it was a pretty amazing thing to hear. I called Nicky to let her hear it and it was just amazing. Then they had some really corny things they wanted everyone to yell in unison and lift their hands doing the "rock and roll sign." I personally didn't have a clue what he was talking about so i guess several thousand others didn't either. We got in trouble again. Dreds reprimanded and reminded that those people we saw on the floor watching us were the people they would be auditioning in front of and to start impressing them now or forget their chances. This whole time Martina was lip syncing to all this nonsense. And by this point she was pretty much disgusted with them - like totally. She kept saying "It's like we're in their little prison." They pulled a kid out of the stands that had a great "KC Rocks" sign staged him over on the other side of the arena in like 3 rows back. Moved one guy out of his seat, put two real good lookin babes on each side of him and had the whole section chanting stuff in unison. Only the whole arena had to do it because the sound was more powerful for the camera. They used that section to do the remaining shots. OH, back when they were filming the whole arena, there were some empty seats, holes that looked awful thru the camera. So they brought down section 239, the people who registered really late and got the worst seats in the arena, to fill all of the empty seats in the lower level (and there were alot). Told them not to get comfortable, they were going back up to the icky seats when they were done filming.

When all that filming is done he yells, 'BRING OUT THE TABLES' like this is the moment we were all waiting for. It was, but by this point nobody thot this guy or American Idol was as nearly as big a deal as he did. They set up 12 tables with 2 chairs for judges at each table, separated by these black drapery walls. Gave us instructions how it worked. If you get a no, you walk to the north get your wrist band cut off and meet the person with you out front. If you get a yellow piece of paper, they call it the golden ticket, you go to the other end where a "producer" was standing and go in the winners circle and do up to two more auditions in another room. They will come out and get the guest to join you. They said they'd start with the people who were seated on the floor because they were winners of affiliate programs and they got prime position because of bla bla bla bla bla. We were told to watch them go thru the process so we would know what to expect. They were going to start with section 111 (we were in 112) and move around the room. So no matter where you stood in line, they would go thru the sections in what ever order they chose to go. They got finished with the "affiliate" group, (guesstimating a couple of hundred people) I think there was about 8 people that made the audition and the rest went north.

The judges walk over to their tables, Dreds is a judge at the table in front of us and Martina goes, "Oh great, Dreds is a judge. I do NOT want him for a judge!" Then they walked over to section 112 and started with our section. I thot Martina was going to fall outa her chair. I called Nicky as soon as our row was walking down the stairs to start praying. They put her at the table RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! And yes... Dreds was her judge! I prayed and took a 30hundred pictures. And then I just couldn't help myself - I started video taping it with my camera! I even got the pathetic guy with the horrible voice that did the cartwheel, that they passed!!

I know everyone that hears Martina didn't make it feels really bad for her, but this was PERFECT!! Before this day we would believe that an answered prayer would be for her to pass this audition on to the next round. God knew better (thank God) and the answer to prayer was that she NOT go any further with this nonsense. If she'd have gone to the next round she'd have told them to shove it. When we met outside some woman and her daughter were having a very verbal tantrum at the "producers" at the door. Real bad deal, but it was over by the time I got to her and there was another lady standing outside by Martina who was saying the lady was really crazy and they were going to end up calling security and hauling her outa there. She walked over to Martina and said, "Oh, and if you're really serious about your music career, consider this a compliment." (Not making the audition.) And right then and there, it put the entire deal in perspective.

And to put it in perspective for you all reading this, Kemper Arena holds about 19,000 people. It wasn't even half full. And then half of those people were guests, the other half auditioning. When we went up to Kemper the day before I asked the AI guy how many they had registered to audition and he said about 4,000. You read in other places figures like 12,000, 14,000. Either people are getting fed up with the clown show or they're exaggerating the figures for the ratings.

There were literally thousands of "Martina's" turned down. When you're sitting in that arena you hear every single person auditioning, the talent that runs thru that arena is in astounding proportions. I heard some incredible voices and, like Martina's, flawless auditions. And they were passing people who can't carry a note doing cartwheels, women in clown suits, people who's idea of singing is screaming & wailing.... seriously, we saw these pass.

This was SO good for Martina to see this side of hollywood. And she knows we've had all of you praying for her and anxiously waiting to hear how she did. She did GREAT, her performance was truly flawless. I was so proud of her every step of the way.
And now you know how it's all done.
It's good to be home. I missed my little buddy today and I'm so grateful for the journey. And I'm so grateful that she has Keota to fall back on LOL.
Any questions ? lol

Then she adds this... :-)

Sally again.

Oh, we had a blast!! We met some truly wonderful people, laffed our guts out, and really had fun. Most of the people around us were in really good moods and clean. If you've ever been in a huge crowd you'd know how important being clean is - cuz there was plenty of skank goin on!

One thing I forgot to mention (i'm sure there's a bunch that'll hit my memory at various times), when they sign the release papers, they also sign a paper saying that they give AI the right and permission to embarrass you, degrade you, talk down to you and make you look like a fool.
I am SO not kidding!! Someone mentioned that and I said, "NO! Martina, you didn't have to sign anything like that did you??" and she said yes!
Here's the actual wording out of the release form:

I understand that I may reveal, and other parties may reveal, information about me that is of a personal, private,embarrassing or unfavorable nature, which information may be factual and/or fictional. I further understand that my appearance, depiction and/or portrayal in the Program may be disparaging, defamatory, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature which may expose me to public ridicule, humiliation or condemnation. I acknowledge and agree that Producer shall have the right to (a) include any or all such information and appearances, depictions or portrayals in the
Program as edited by Producer in its sole discretion, and (b) broadcast and otherwise exploit the Program containing any or all such information and appearances, depictions or portrayals in any manner whatsoever in any and all media now known or hereafter devised, or for any other purpose, throughout the universe in perpetuity.

Is that unreal or whUT? It's all about the ratings and the American public who lives for this kinda stuff. Like Jace described it, it's the WWF of the entertainment world. *shakes her head*

Thanks Sal!



Jerry said...

Yep, that pretty much clears it all up for us.

Thanks Sal! Glad you had a great time!

gracie said...

We've never watched AI and this would have been the 1st time we would have cared.

Soooo....our record will remain 100%.


brent said...

I'm gonna shake my head along with all of you! Good for Martina for showing those clowns what real talent is about and thank GOD she didn't move on. The AI circus didn't deserve another moment of her time. Thanks for the play by play, Sal :)