Saturday, July 24, 2010

The AI Experience (for fans of the show only...otherwise you'll be bored with details!)

Thought some of you would like to hear about our spontaneous trip to the American Idol auditions. Jon and I told Claire a while back that we were going to make her audition this year. We pretty much thought she had it in the bag (well...a trip to Hollywood, at least!). So about 3 days beforehand, Jon figured out they were going to be in Milwaukee so we made arrangements to go. Lucky for us we have some close friends who live there so we got to stay the night with them.

Basically, you have to go to the arena to register and get a wrist band during the 2 days prior to auditions. (I decided to audition too, just for the fun of it.) People camp out overnight to get their bands first because this determines your audition order. We decided we didn't want to bother with the lines so we got our bands on Wednesday around 6:00pm. (registration closed at 9:00 that night) There was no one there and we just walked right up the the table at that point. Super easy.

Auditions were Thursday. When we registered, they told us to be at the arena at 5:00am on Thursday. We got the inside scoop from a close friend of ours who had auditioned twice that it was completely unnecessary to get there at 5 unless you just want the chance to be on TV when they're filming the crowds outside. We chose to sleep as late as possible so we showed up at about 7:45. Again, there was no one waiting outside and we just walked right in. Its assigned seating in the arena so its pretty much pointless to show up at 5:00 on audition day.

Since we were late getting our bands, we were one of the last sections to audition. We didn't sing until 7:00pm. So basically you choose to wait a full day outside (in whatever weather conditions you're stuck in) to get your wrist bands, or you skip that line and wait all day inside the arena to audition. Pros and cons to each, I suppose, but since we were doing it more for the fun and experience, I'd definitely choose the latter any day.

For the first couple hours inside the arena, you do all the big crowd shots where they tell you certain things to say altogether. Like, "Welcome to Milwaukee" or "I'm the next American Idol". Danny Gokey was there and then Ryan Secrest came a little later and we filmed more stuff with him. It was cool to see the behind the scenes stuff.

Our view from the very top row of the arena:

Ryan Secrest at the bottom of this shot:

Then auditions start. They set up 12 tables on the floor of the arena, with 2 judges at each table. So basically, you can hear and see all the auditions as they take place. It was this constant cacophony of voices. While we were waiting (for 9 hours...) we'd walk around and listen to everyone practicing out in the corridors. Very entertaining! And it started to sink in how many unbelievable singers were there. You pretty much only heard amazing voices every where you turned. We figured out much later in the afternoon that you could actually leave the arena. We totally could have caught a movie and then came back. Oh time (kidding).

It was finally our turn and Claire and I lined up in our row of four. We got assigned to our table and were bummed to find out we were only singing for one judge, not two. Also, her stack of "golden tickets" was still pretty large...she hadn't been letting many people through at all. It was so nerve wracking. I felt beyond awkward when I sang. I knew I needed to connect and make eye contact with this expressionless woman sitting 3 feet in front of me but it was just the weirdest thing ever. Claire did great and said she looked at her the whole time (I have no idea how) and she actually let Claire sing a bit longer than than the 20 second minimum so we thought she had a chance. Then she asks our group of four to step forward and proceeds to tell us, "There were some good voices in the group, but you're not what we're looking for for Season 10. Thanks." And that was it! We stepped behind the table, they cut our bracelets off and we were on our way. Kind of anti-climactic. But it was so fun to be a part of it and we can't wait to watch the Milwaukee auditions air since we got to see all the crazies they let through (be looking for a guy in a sparkly silver suit holding a giant toothbrush and a guy in a civil war uniform...among others). I'd estimate they let somewhere between 100 and 200 through the whole day (good and bad). We definitely don't regret going. It was a blast to be a part of it!


  1. Oh man! You have the best adventures Have! So cool! But, really bummed you guys didn't get through this time around. I was hoping to say, "Yep, I knew her...we were like this (crossing my fingers)" LOL! Maybe next year!

  2. Wow, that sounds like fun! I almost want to go just to watch.


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