A couple of you will already know of Brittany’s (and mine cause she’s too young yet!) experience of auditioning for American Idol, but I figured it was such a cool experience that I’d write about it. Last year they opened up American Idol auditions to 15 year olds. As Brittany had already registered for Camp Electric (she had a blast and made many new friends!) and seeing that Camp Electric ended on the day before American Idol auditions, BJ and I decided that we’d stay the night and let her audition.
We’d heard all the horror stories (and read some of them online, too) about the long lines, so Brittany and I decided we’d get up really early and get down there to get as close to the front as we could. We even scouted out the location the day before (really, we had to get arm bands then, so we just scouted at the same time) so we’d know where to park and where to go for the line.
As a year and a half has now passed, I don’t remember the exact time, but I think we were up at 3 a.m. and out the door by 4. Supposedly AI wouldn’t let you line up before a certain time, but we wanted to be down there anyway. Parking was relatively easy…but we were surprised to see the line extend about three city blocks already. So, we fell in line, parked our hineys on the sidewalk and waited.
We were surrounded by interesting folks; some playing guitar, some listening to music, many of them singing, few of them with really good voices. Still, though, it was kinda cool. Once the line started moving, we learned they were just filtering us into the coliseum to take a seat. As we moved forward, we passed the line which had circled all the way around the block and crossed over and around to the other side.
We made our way in, took our seat, and waited again. Once everyone was in, an announcer told everyone how things would work and proceeded to fire up the audience for the film crew. Once the auditions started, I was super impressed at how quickly and smoothly they went. It was obvious the American Idol people have done that before and know what they’re doing. I don’t watch AI, but was still impressed with their organizational abilities.
In the center of the stadium was 12 tables separated only by curtains. Behind each table sat one or two judges. As the contestants filled onto the floor, they were put in a column of fours, very military style. They then lined 3 to 4 rows of four up in front of each table. The judges would call the entire row forward, speak to them, and then call them individually further forward for their opportunity to sing. After each of the four had their shot, the judges privately conferred and then called them forward as a group to announce their decision. Winners went one direction, others went the other direction. I sat for thirty full minutes before they selected the first winner.
Brittany didn’t place; one judge liked her, the other didn’t…and the decision had to be unanimous. Regardless, it was a good experience for her.