1st of all,
I should leave you on cliff hangers more often. I get more comments that way ;)
So Back to my story...
Now one of the rules for AI is that you need to sing at least 10 seconds of a song of your choice but also that you have 3 songs prepared and then another 2 for "crowd shots". This was the hardest thing of all for me because I in general do not listen to a lot of female singers. I prefer male singers, for example my favorite singer of all time is Sting. On Monday and all day Monday I stressed over what to sing. After talking to my family I came up with "Only Hope" -the Mandy Moore version. I was prompted by my dad to sing at the dinner table so that I could practice singing in front of judges. My dad was so much fun to talk to about AI with because he got just as excited as me about it. I had the week before forced him to watch Simon, Paula, and Randy tear the contestants to shreds. My Dad is great and he really helped my nerves and come up with some guts to actually do this thing.
So after dinner with the "judges" I headed over to my ward Family Home Evening. It was a real bummer that I couldn't get the wristband wet because it looked like a lot of fun.
After leaving the ward activity without getting wet I headed over to Jon's house where the group of us decided to do a practice run on each other. This included singing at least 2 songs that we picked and then getting critiqued at the end of it. They made me go first :( I sang the "Only Hope" song and I also sang "Can't keep my eyes off of you" the Lauren Hill version. I got some positive response to both and was grateful to pass the torch (there's some Olympic humor for ya) on to the next person. I am happy to report I have some very talented friends.
Ladies and Gentlemen, after singing in front of friends in a small room I was prepared to do anything.
That night was a sleepless night for me as it hit me "What if I don't make it? Does it mean I'm a bad singer? or what if I do make it? I don't know if I really want to." and then after closing my eyes the alarm clock went off at 5:00 am and I headed over to Laura Dawn's apartment to meet up with our brave little group. After finding a place to park in Downtown Salt Lake, we took the Trax over the rest of the way to the Energy Solutions arena. This is where we saw thousands of people lined up and ready to go inside. It was kind of crazy! There were news cameras everywhere and we even saw a small celebrity. Season one's Justin Guarini (for some reason his last name reminds me of chocolate). He was interviewing people in line and was about 3 feet away from me. I'm happy to say he doesn't look like "SideShow Bob" up close .
There were several frustrating things right off the bat about this whole shindig. In the instructions it said to not forget certain things, water bottles, blankets, food, treats etc... We get up to finally go inside and they tell us none of the above mentioned items were allowed. Stupid me, I brought a small blanket with me that I ended up having to leave outside. I hope a homeless person was able to keep it in the end. My friend Jon also brought his guitar which they made him walk several blocks to his car to put back. When walking in we saw several bags of goodies just being left out on the sidewalk. The things we human herds do to be on TV... So after finding our seats in the stands they had everybody sing the 2 songs we had to learn for the crowd shots. These were "Ain't no mountain high enough" and "Get Ready"- The Temptations. We sang them over and over and over again. For a group as large as that was (we're talking thousands here) it didn't sound half bad. After the practice runs of that song they recorded us singing. Then they recorded us cheering, louder and louder. Note to AI producers. When you have people scream at the top of their lungs, they might, just might be losing their voices in the process. Then they had us chant a bunch of silly things like "First Archi, Now me!" and "Welcome to Happy Valley?" I'm sorry but who told them Salt Lake City was happy valley? At this point they finally were setting up the tables for judges in the middle of the court. So the setup went like this. They set up a few tables. 1-2 judges at each table. You go up in groups of 4 people. When it is your turn you step up, sing your bit and step back and so on and so fourth. The tables are divided by a simple piece of cloth.
Here is a picture to better describe what I'm illustrating.
These are the tables after Ryan Seacrest came and left. Thankfully they added more to make the process move along somewhat quicker.
After the first half of the first section auditioned they put it on pause and they brought in Ryan Seacrest. That was pretty cool. He came to pump up the crowd and to do some more TV spots. We again had to cheer. This time we had to wait to hear a very quiet voice say "This is American Idol" watch for the guys hand to lift up and then scream as loud as we could. Again, over and over.
You can get an idea of how far I was from the floor at this point because this picture of Ryan Seacrest (the man w/ his finger in the air) is really blurry.Ok I'm really not meaning to leave you again on a cliff hanger but I am writing this very late and need to go to bed. I apologize for the bad grammar and poor story telling. Thanks for all who are reading this, you have my sympathy.