Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Truth about American Idol Auditions, Part 6

Executive Producer Round, continued

The Families
I mentioned before why I didn't bring any family or friends with me, but the one reason I was kind of sad that I didn't is because the atmosphere was pretty hostile, at least towards me.  There were some fast cliques, like guitar guys, or jewelry girls, or whoever.  There were also some good souls that were nice to everyone regardless of what they personally thought about their chances, like Jorge.   There were some people that were so crazy that they would talk for hours to anyone, whether or not the other person was actually listening.  But most everyone was the same:  they would talk excitedly to the 2 or 3 people they made "friends" with,  stop to listen when someone like JoJo girl would sing, but mainly would be wrapped up in their own little world, listening to music, and would look at you like you were crazy if you tried to start up a conversation with them.

I expected nerves to be high, but I didn't expect an atmosphere like that.  People would run over to their families and jump up and down and yell and cheer and scream, and then come sit down and not say a word for an hour.  People would ask you a million questions "I've done three TV shows, how many have YOU been on?"  or list their impressive accomplishments.  People would ask you to sing and then turn up their noses right at you, or say things like "maybe Garth Brooks isn't the best choice for you, sweetie,"  or "that was cute, but you sang it really loud."    I was shocked by the way I suddenly felt like I was in Junior High again,  that everyone was judging my hair and nails and clothing and the cool kids were going to put me down so they could feel cooler.  It was a really tense environment.   As a contrast, I went to another audition recently for another show (as mentioned before), and I was afraid of it based on this experience.  But, I was so surprised when I got there, everyone was friendly, everyone talked to you,  people told you stories about their husbands and kids, their little babies at home, their medals they got at church, just, whatever.  Everyone was rooting for everyone (and not just because you were supposed to for the scouts) but because they wanted everyone to do well.  Afterwards people hung out, we still talk to each other weeks later.  

I've wondered why these differences occured, and I've come up with two main reasons.  1)  The other show I auditioned for was a chance of a lifetime, also, but it's not something you have to have a particular skill or talent for.  It helps to know what you're doing, but it's not neccessary.    American Idol is a talent thing and people watch it SO carefully and scrutinize every move of every contestant that it becomes extremely stressful.  The contestants also get into a mindset of "if I can't make it my career is over"  and  because many of them ONLY do music, it's "if my career is over I have nothing left."  So it's just this very very tense vibe.
2)  Forgive me if you take offense to this or do not agree, but I mentioned before that of the people at the audition, I only found 4 that were from New Orleans.   My other audition we were 90% Louisiana born and bred, and it was apparent by the "How's ya Mom and thems?"  all over the place.   This one had people from Florida, Texas, Arkansas, all over.  So it's no wonder that I found the people to behave very very differently from what I'm used to.

Break for Lunch
So, after about 15 people go into the executive producer round, we get a lunch break.  I go ask around and see if a few people want to have lunch together, they all decline.  Many of them are with their families and that's understandable but even the 2 or 3 that are alone are going off in sets of 2.  I'm surprised that no one wants to eat together and even more surprised that no one wants to ask the girl who's actually from New Orleans what to eat, but whatever... less of a line at Drago's for me!  Mmm charbroiled oysters.    We have some ridiculous amount of time to eat lunch and be back, if we are late and miss our number we could be cut.  Since I'm #4 or #5 to audition when we return, I definitely want to arrive back early.  I believe we had 30 minutes and even though I was just going to the hotel lobby to eat, I knew it wouldn't be enough time. 

The most annoying girl of all time
I probably should have mentioned this girl in one of the previous posts, but just thinking about her makes my blood boil so I guess I waited until I could get it all out.   A girl seated very close to our five person group that morning turned to me and asked me the following question.  "So, like, do you think this is going to take awhile?  Because I have to go to my job and I didn't take off and my boss will like kill me if I'm late."     I remind her as civilly as I can manage that the last round took all day, and they said this round could take even longer.  I also point out that the sheet we were given says in print we'd be there at least six hours.   "oh crap,"  she whines "but I can't afford to miss work.......  I wonder if they will let me go first?"   I roll my eyes at her and shrug.   I want to tell her off but at this point I'm still trying to make friends.  I don't remember her name either, Jamie?  She must have been about 17 or 18... she told me what she did, I think she was a waitress or a temp, I don't really remember.  Some job all college kids have.  It also really bothered me that most people (aside from the costumed)  were in really nice jeans or pants and a killer top and makeup,  some in dresses/skirts, most presentable, and this girl was in ripped jeans, flip flops, a tank top with her different colored bra strap hanging out, and wet hair twisted up into a clip, with zero makeup on.  I kid you not.  Did she not realize she was going to be on TV?   She catches me looking at her hair and says "oh... haha, I was too lazy to blow dry it this morning."     Seriously?  Why are you even here?   I make a mental point to ignore everything she said for the rest of the day so I didn't lose my cool.  Jorge and Jessica and a few other people did make conversation with her and I think Jessica really liked her, but I just couldn't tolerate her.  She whined non-stop for the next four hours about how long it was taking.  I think at one point I may have said "if it's that miserable, leave, but you can't come back and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you,"  but she just said "like, we'll see what happens."     I know my memories are fuzzy because this happened awhile back, I remember being seated very close to her, I'm wondering if she was even in our 5 group of J names and I'm remembering one of the guys wrong.  Either way.  She annoyed me.  We will call her Brick from now on, because you guessed it, she's dumb as one.

Break for Lunch #2
So for the lunch break the Idol producers come in and give us the following orders.   We are supposed to take our coveted big sticker off (and it is DIFFICULT to get those off of your clothing without ripping them),  place them on the back of the chair we are sitting in (to keep our place),  they will put a family wristband on us (so we can get back into the black curtain), and we can then go.  We are under NO circumstances allowed to roam the hotel freely with our big sticker on (whoops, I had done that at least 10 times already to go to the bathroom and the gift shop, and had even talked to a few people who asked me how auditions were going and if Randy was there),  and then we'd return back, change out the armband for the sticker, etc.    This is all important for 3 reasons.  1)  Security was amazing and it was ridiculous to me how they had to put the armband on you (you couldn't do it yourself),  you didn't get an armband until your sticker was on your chair, and it was a very authoritative process, but I guess I expected that.  2)  When I went down to the bar to eat my lonely oysters, I found my Mom and Aunt who were there to surprise me so I got to eat a fabulous lunch and even though the bill didn't come in time I still made it because they stayed and paid-- I have NO idea how anyone who didn't have someone "on the outside" made it back within the 30 minutes,  and 3) when I returned from lunch, we found that Brick had written on her sticker on her chair "Sorry, I had to leave.  Won't be returning."     Total shock occured, they alerted a producer, he took her sticker away, which meant that I was now auditioning 4th instead of 5th.


  1. I'm even further out there on the edge of my seat. you're doing a fantastic job.

  2. If you ever get stuck in a FEMA camp and somehow get out, please I beg of you to write the details just like this because this audition policing you guys around sure sounds like one based on what I heard someone report in South Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.