Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Truth about American Idol auditions, Part 9

Personal Reactions / FAQ

I've said an awful lot and you must be sick of me by now, but I just want to leave you with these following points.

I am in no way bitter, upset, or offended by any of this experience.
Was it the greatest experience of my life?  No.   Do I wish I would have made a friend or two out of the auditions that I could still talk to?  Yes.  Am I bitter?  No.   Am I upset that I am not the next American Idol?  Of course, who wouldn't want a million dollar recording deal and to be on TV and be famous.   Yes, I'm upset I'm not the President of the United States or America's Next Top Model also, but we can each only be talented in so many ways.  Singing may not be mine (or maybe it is and I'm just going about it the wrong way, who knows), but I'm not bitter.    Were they mean to me?  No.   Were they nice to me?  No.    Did I fully know what I was getting myself into?   Sort of, that's a tough one.  I knew it was going to be edited, I knew it would be competitive, I knew things would be strange.  I didn't fully expect the level of paranoia that I went through nor did I expect to feel as uncomfortable or nervous as I did at certain points, but that's all ultimately my fault.    I'm still glad I did it and I wouldn't change that for the world.  I would have turned 29 and always wondered what might have been in 2010. (Ha!  Rhyming. Maybe I should be a poet.)

Let me explain the "paranoia" part.
I am not a paranoid person, nor have I ever been.    Correction, I am slightly paranoid.  If I see a scary movie, I am scared to be by myself at night for a few nights.  If I hear that a friend has betrayed me, I might never tell them secrets again.  If I hear someone talking about me I'll forever think they are talking about me, even if they aren't.   I think that's just human nature.  I might be slightly guarded, I think it's called being smart.   But I'm not generally in the mindset that everyone and everything is out to get me.
American Idol auditions were a different case.

Anything in life is going to have those that are good at it and those that are bad.  In corporate America, there are people that are paid better than other people.   In contests, there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.  In school, there are grades.  There is always some way to know where you rank, and crude or cruel as it may be, it's nice to know where you stand.

The audition I went to for the other show was such a positive experience, (and keep in mind, please, that I am not a fame whore, well maybe a little bit :)  --  I just want to make it clear that I do not audition for shows all the time.  In my entire adult life I've auditioned for exactly two shows.  It just so happened that they were both within 6 months of each other.  BUT, they both just happened to also come to my city within 6 months of each other.  Opportunities presented themselves and I jumped on them.  In the latter c case I was really lucky (or prepared, however you want to look at it), because I knew where I stood.   I went into an audition, I was called out as being a person of interest.   I survived a cut.  I survived another cut.   In each case, passing through meant that I was good.  I had succeeded.  I had survived.  I would make it through to fight another time/day.   It was always joyous to hear that I was called for the next round.    AI is NOT like that.   You are always wondering if you're being passed through because you are that good or that bad.  You are always questioning the marks on your golden ticket.  You are always asking people what the judges said about them.  You're trying to figure out who's "good" and who's "bad,"  you are constantly trying to decide whether you should drop out of the competition as to not humiliate yourself or if you should continue on and have a chance at something wonderful.   It's pretty unfair, and I  say that even though I knew what I was signing up for, because....

Why it's unfair  /  Why I actually feel sorry for contestants who make it to the "reject reels"
It's not called reject reels officially, that's a name I made up for the boatloads of contestants who crack us up with their ridiculous renditions of anything from "Let My People Go"  to "She Bangs"  to original compositions like "I am Your Brother"  and the list goes on and on and on.  Let me tell you, I won't ever call it that again.    A few facts first.  1.  Contestants KNOW they could be featured for being bad, not for being good.   2.  They are told this well in advance, read papers, and even sign papers regarding this. 3. Contestants have clearly watched the show before and have seen episode after episode of these reject reels.

Hasn't anyone ever wondered why these people continue to audition?  It's because they think they're good.

But unlike the reason you think they're there, because they are delusional and full of themselves, because they think they're wonderful, because they want fame & fortune, or even simply and modestly because their friends/families/voice coaches told them they were good and convinced them to try out,  a good many of them (like me)  tried out because they are big fans of the show, an opportunity presented itself close to home where they could audition,  they've always wondered what could have been, they had a group going with them so they made an outing out of the day, and they just wanted to see what happened.   Had someone at that very first table at the New Orleans Arena been like "Look, I'm sorry, you'er just not good enough,"   and the contestant then responded "please, please, please, let me through, I promise I am awesome, I am so good" -- then yes, I fully blame them for anything they brought upon themselves.   But those producers do NOT tell you you are bad.  In fact they give you falsely encouraging advice.  I was told things like "that was great, the only bad thing I can say about it is that you need to make more eye contact."  and, "you're golden, that was awesome, you're through."  both by the same woman, and then later watched her cover her face with a clipboard as she tried not to laugh at me.  

Tell people the truth.  There ARE people who are there because they want fame and fortune and they will get it at any costs.  These are the people who are dressed in costume, dance on poles, do kart wheels, take off their clothing while singing, jump in pools, write their own songs, you get the idea. You've seen thousands of them throughout the years.  These are the people who don't care what anyone says or thinks about them.  All they want is their 15 minutes.   You have plenty of these people.  Please just let them have their hay day. I'm sure they will be plenty embarrassing enough for you.   They will get you fantastic ratings. But please don't lie to some poor little well dressed kid through 4 rounds about how good he is,  then put him in front of 10-14 people and cameras, tell him he sings bad, laugh at his shocked reaction, and then follow him through the Hilton Riverside as he cries his eyes out.  That's immoral.  That's wrong.

I'm only human, I'm only fallible.  Parts 1, 2, 3 were written in July and were days after we auditioned.  Those are 100% accurate as they were fresh in my head.  For these other posts I wrote recently (yesterday and today),  they are mostly accurate.  I had some notes, and pictures and videos and things to refer back off of, but some things like names and exact locations and exact words may be slightly off.  If they are, I greatly apologize.  Most things are correct and accurate to the best of my knowledge.  If they are wrong they're how I felt, as given as this is a blog and not a textbook, I think that's okay!   If other contestants who were in New Orleans want to e-mail me or correct something (or add to it) I would absolutely welcome your comments/corrections with open arms.

Will I continue to watch the show?
Maybe.  I'm only human.  It's very very difficult for me to watch the rejec....  the honest people making honest mistakes featurette... because I've bee there and done that.  I know how it feels.   Will I still watch it?  Maybe.  I will definitely speak up for those people if I do, and I definitely won't laugh at them when they cry.  There HAVE been people who have committed suicide over American Idol auditions (that one girl Alexis comes to mind most often... I still think about her from time to time).  I don't think that's American Idol's fault, they had a lot of other deep seated issues, but it certainly started a lot of bullying that probably added to the problem.  I can't help but think about people like her when I watch it now.  But will I still watch it?  Maybe.  I definitely don't look forward to it like I used to.  I didn't even get all the way through the Jersey episode, which has NEVER happened to me before, especially this early in the rej... honest people featurette.  ESPECIALLY in a place as juicy as New Jersey.   But it just didn't hold the same appeal.  Maybe I'm growing up.  Maybe I just have more empathy.  Maybe I have better more productive things to do with my time than watch other people fail and/or succeed (like write blogs!).

Best wishes to American Idol Season 10
I may still watch because of the people I briefly met and liked who are still involved. I want to see them go far and do well.  And for what it's worth, Season 10 definitely seems different than any other season I've ever seen.  There are no quips from Simon (before I would have been as disappointed about that as I am about Steve Carrell leaving The Office) but if I'm feeling sorry for people now I'm glad he's not there.    I understand why Ellen DeGeneres left because she "realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings."  She obviously knew what the show was about and what she'd be doing before she signed up, I guess she just didn't realize (like I didn't realize) the extent of some of the things that happened.   But it already seems different.  Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful person inside and out, and she's seemingly good intentioned.  I'd much rather laugh at Steven Tyler mouthing along to the lyrics and playing drums for contestants than to watch yet another person breakdown.   I also have noticed that they are hardly showing anything this year....  previous years we might see 25-40 contestants audition per episode, I'm not even sure if we saw 10 audition in New Orleans.  It seemed like there was a lot left out or missing.  I'm not sure of the reason exactly, but I sure am relieved!   Grateful you can only see me through this blog for now (or at least for a little bit longer).

I could give some kind of sappy send off or inspirational quote at this point... but let's just say that I might be back, I might not.  Until then, enjoy reading, feel free to post comments on any of the posts or refer this to other people, and if you have any questions shoot them to

Maria Saint

PS -  if no one figured it out yet... the name Maria Saint came from the fact that they said I sounded like a Nun!   Ha!  Nuns are good!   So I have nice Catholic sounding nun name now.

IMPORTANT:  If you came here from a referring site, like Reality Blurred-- they may have just posted individual links.  There IS more after Part 9.  There is secret audio footage... there are pictures... there are recaps of every weeks shows and more behind the scenes information after each Hollywood episode.  So, make sure to go back to  to link to the MAIN site,  and read everything to date!  Oh, and you might want to follow on Twitter (@truedat504) or on blogspot to make sure you're kept up to date!


  1. I just want to tell you I really enjoyed reading all 9 chapters of your blog. It was very entertaining and informative. I hope a lot of Idol hopefuls get to read this so they understand better what they are in for before they audition.

  2. I've enjoyed reading this so thank you for sharing it with us. I'm not an Idol hopeful, but I have been a faithful viewer, who will certainly watch with a different set of eyes from now on.

  3. I knew it. I'm upset that it's over.
    Thank you so much Sister Maria.

  4. Thanks for giving us an honest behind the scenes look at AI. I think youve been very fair in your assessment and could have easily turned this blog into a "Bitter Betty Strikes Back" type of deal but you didnt! Kudos!!

  5. Awesome job. I'll be thinking about your blog now every time I watch the show.

  6. If you do watch the show do a blog after every show I bet folks would read.

  7. Loved this blog - what an experience! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  8. Haha thanks for sharing this... really great insights :D

  9. I think your true calling is to be a writer of some sort! You were entertaining, truthful and only opinionated when it was good for a laugh! Thank you for giving us all insight to the somewhat misleading world of AI auditions!
    Seriously, think about the "writer" suggestion.... ; )

  10. One tiny note: Alexis Cohen did not commit suicide, she was unfortunately killed by a drunk driver. It may seem like a minor detail, but her death was not her own fault, so Idol may not have even contributed to her well-being in the end.

    However, I love that you posted this. You really could make writing as a career, and I'm not kidding. Thanks for being refreshingly honest, yet tactful, with your experience.

  11. Thanks for this blog! I'm also a union opera singer and totally get where you're coming from. Forget stupid scripted tv shows, keep singing real music.

  12. Glad someone corrected your mistake re Alexis Cohen, whose death I also think was months or years after her unsuccessful auditions for AI.

    That said, you may be confusing her with a young woman named Paula (who, if I remember correctly, had actually had her name changed to Paula in honor of Paula Abdul) who committed suicide in her car outside Paula Abdul's home, I believe.

    Anyway, thanks for posting all this. It's been really informative. Good luck in the future.

  13. Thanks guys! Make sure to read the latest updates! At least one new post a week!

  14. Maria,

    I want to thank you for sharing all this with the public. It is important that people see this and decide for themselves.

    One thing though, American Idol is a television show, it's in the business of attracting viewers, and that in turn attracts advertisers who pay big money for commercial spots when the show broadcasts.

    In previous years (and this year), fans of the show have wanted to see bad singers audition each year. To some people it is hilarious. For me, well I cannot understand why a person, obviously lacking any talent, would subject themselves to the rigors of auditioning for this show.

    For some they only want their proverbial "fifteen minutes" of fame. That's all, and they'll whole-heartedly subject themselves to all sorts of verbal and physical abuse to attain that goal. That's right, for 15 minutes of fame, people would do anything!

    So each year when AI broadcasts their auditions I hope I'll see less of the "reject reels", but no, they keep them coming. More and more "rejects" audition for AI year after year. And yes, for some the producers falsely encourage by telling them they have "God-given talent", but be honest, don't the person's family's know, and realize what the heck is going on? They must know that their son, or daughter is completely tone deaf, they must!

    And once in a while we come across someone like JayCee, the young boy who made it to Hollywood this year. You have to admit that kid had a beautiful voice, right? But he was too young, and what was going to happen when he hit puberty?

    But then I thought that JayCee might be a sufferer of "Klinefelter's syndrome", a syndrome that affects 1 in 1000 men, one that sort of stops them from hitting puberty. Could this be the reason for his voice? I said to myself that this might be a chance for AI to do something good, to talk about this disease, but then again, maybe they're setting Jaycee up for ridicule instead. We'll have to wait and see.

    During Hollywood Week Jaycee didn't fare too well, it always seemed that he was an outsider, and the AI Producers were happily portraying him as one. And though we all knew he'd never make it as a finalist, AI still kept him in the spotlight, to what end, right? Like I said before, I'll never understand them sometimes. We all knew Jaycee was being set up from the start, perhaps only through the intervention of Jennifer, Randy, and Steve they kept Jaycee from becoming the butt of AI jokes.

  15. I just found your blog, and thank you so much for writing about your Idol audition experience! I'm going to try out in a few weeks in South Carolina and now have a MUCH better idea of what to expect. I've found some people recalling their experiences online, but none of the ones I've read made it as far as you. It was super interesting, and I'm sure I'll learn even more on my audition days. Thanks again!

  16. Quit lying through your shiny white teeth. I enjoyed browsing through your 9 chapters of Idol bashing. I'm sure you are quite correct in what you say. So why do you have to cap it all off by saying you aren't bitter, upset, or offended. Your 9 chapters are evidence that you were. There's nothing wrong with being bitter, upset, or offended at situations that were bitter, upsetting, and offensive. It's called being human. Don't cop a Miss American answer at the end of all this. You aren't "exit interviewing" here... keep it real.

    1. Just because she writes about an experience in great detail, going through each emotion, doesn't mean that the end result is bitterness. Not everyone likes to hold on to negativity.

  17. Your entire blog was interesting and entertaining,,,as is
    American Idol.

    Don't dismiss the idea of writing, as others have said, you
    may be on to something there.

    Wish there was more to read. Perhaps you'll post more in the future.
    Good Luck to you !!!!!