Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wanted To Be At American Idol Last Night? - Read This

Last week I slammed American Idol for sending two CDAN readers home because they wanted to admit VIP's who are only VIP's in their own mind. Although I still think American Idol is in the wrong, because some people have their vacations ruined by this policy, they did do the CDAN readers right. This is a report from one of them. I can't remember if she wanted to be identified or not, so if she does she can say it in the comments.

Let's just say I love a live show and it was worth the wait. Even my friend who was all pissed off ended up having the best time and got to hug Randy and shake Simon's hand.

So let's recap:

About a year ago I put my name on the wait list thinking I might at least get a shot at the finals, but instead waited a year before bona fide notifications started to come in by e-mail. The audience ticket service works with many different shows and had sent e-mail offers for other shows, notably to American Band (or whatever it was produced by the AI team) that was suffering so badly that I got offers of AI tickets if I went to a taping of that show.

So, the real offers started to come, first for rehearsal tickets that were already booked by the time I got home, and the one day I happened to be home early, I caught the e-mail right as it came in, clicked, and behold I had a voucher for 4 for last week's taping.

The secret to getting in is to get in line before 3 pm with your entire party. Emily and I got in line last week around 3:30, standing near the approximate cutoff point, and ended up standing on Beverly Blvd until nearly 4:30. That's when we were told that we would have priority vouchers for the next week and sent home.

I called the ticket office on Thursday, was treated very nicely and got the voucher faxed over immediately.

By the way, if two of the members of your party decided to go to Yang Chow in Chinatown instead of joining you in line (they were running late and chickened out when they drove past the line), and instead your party was checked in for only 2, the new voucher ended up being for 2.

So Yesterday, we were at the top of the line and the first to go into the holding area for the AI audience. We were also the group that got interviewed for "Idol Extra" by Constantine Maroulis and Nic (?), both of whom were very gracious to autograph requests, etc.

Keep in mind that there are two parts to the audience, the VIPS that come in though a different entrance with big "hard card" tickets with seat numbers, and the standing room/mosh pit crowd that is right up next to the stage where we were. As it turned out, we were right in the back near the judges, right where they walk in and out during breaks, good view of everything, and very involved with everything going around.

The judges are a class act, not afraid to be up close, and gracious to the fans who have supported them through the years. That's why my friend got her hug from Randy and a hand shake from Simon. I know you're going to want me to report the snarky remarks she made about Paula, but Paula is a very special little lady that spent plenty of time after the show in the mosh pit, holding things up for those trying to clear the stage, but making fans very happy. There was no "Don't touch the hosts" -- just a request to keep the path clear for technicians and body guards!

The VIPS were a mix of family and industry sorts, like the cast of ""Til Death" sitting right behind us in the first row, assorted AI alums like Chris Daughtry who seemed to be escorting a certain latina from Grey's Anatomy (and yes, Sara Ramirez did stop by to say hello on the way out.)

Sanjaya (or some guy with the name Danny on his tag) was giving autographs before the show started, and the line of young girls wanting a ticket signed was not so long that it held up taping. To all the others who I may not have named, it's only because you held back from meeting the unwashed masses in the mosh pit.

By the way, would someone please tell Brad Garrett that it's o.k. to smile??? He had a very sour look on his face for most of the show.

The "mosh pit" experience was probably more fun than sitting in the hard stackable chairs that they have for the seated VIPS. We're on camera. and even if you can't see our faces, we're there waving our arms, clapping, booing, shouting, and generally having as much fun as you would have at any concert (but cleaner and alcohol free.)

It did get warm, enough so that Simon came back on set after a commercial break with a drink. Because it was a Coke, and Coca Cola is the sponsor, it got the o.k. to be seen on camera.

There is a large teleprompter for Ryan in the middle of the house, so signs in that section have to be held at chin level. You can also watch the play back monitor right next to it that has the count to air time -- amazing how the judges know exactly how long 4 minutes is! Quick rush for a drink, a call, a fix of make-up....

If you watched the show last night, you know that it was a good one. I have no idea of who will be eliminated, but it was fun watching the judges, especially Simon when what looks like a toothache turns out to be high prise for a risky song choice. Paula gets up and dances around during a song with a strong beat, and gives the sweetest, most heartfelt encouragement for each performance. I couldn't see Randy as much from where I was standing, and Emily kept saying how she thought she could do Ryan's job.

I could keep on, but I do have a day job that I need to get back to.

Since I couldn't take pictures of the show, here's a picture of Mark Rodgers with my friend Suzie who watched every show he was on and voted for him as many times as possible (along with everyone in Covina!)


littleoleme said...

By the way, would someone please tell Brad Garrett that it's o.k. to smile??? He had a very sour look on his face for most of the show.

I would have that look on my face too if I had to sit thorugh a tapin gof American Idol. I know you'll all slam me for my snark but I really don't get it. IN all seriousness - Why do people watch this show? Why do people get so excited about and involved in it? It has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with a junior high school popularity contest. Howm many winners have had legitamte careers after this show? Perhpas I'm the only one in the dark here but if someone can explain it to me I would appreciate it. From what I've seen this is a glorified karaoke contest.

jax said...

i'm not gonna piss on the poster's parade but i don't get it either.
for 8 year olds ya, but for adults? uhuh.

littleoleme said...

P.S. I'm also going to try and type a whole lot better in the future. Typos abound in my post! Sorry. I guess that's what I get for trying to quickly sneak a post in while at work.

Unknown said...

Okay - I have to be the one person on CDAN who sticks up for American Idol. Now, just hear me out - I'm not syaing this is the best show in the world, but it's better than watching Big Brother and the Hills and the Bachelor and half of the other crap out there. The truth is, I began watching the show because I love people who can sing and it WAS a singing competition. Now, it's pretty much fluff and people who have been planted for ratings and blah blah blah...but it doesn't take away the fact that the there are some people on the show who do have legitimatly good voices and I do root for those people. It's a clean and wholesome show - for the most part - and good entertainment. Popularity contest? Maybe. Rigged? Probably. But I don't watch it because I think the people on there will make it big in the music industry...although some have. I like watching them sing and watching them screw up. It's good old fashioned entertainment. Ok - now let the hits begin. lol

littleoleme said...

Robert thanks you for your thoughts. Just for the record I don't watch Big Brother, The Bachelor (I'm always STUNNED when this show returns) and all the others you mentioned. I'm not big on reality shows because I don't think they exist. No reality show is real.
I still don't get the appeal of American Idol but then again that might be just me.

YahMoBThere said...

Hey, it's a fun show that doesn't involve scandal (most of the time), it has good guys (Randy), bad guys (Simon) and train wrecks (Paula). It's an escape for people of all ages who like music. If you think this is the worst thing you can spend your time watching then I have a list of about thirty other shows you might want to see.

I have to add, though, that I find the question odd. It's like asking why someone likes a certain movie or book. It doesn't account for the fact that people like different things. Is that really such a surprise?

YahMoBThere said...

To the poster who got the VIP tix - thanks for the post. It sounds like you had a good time and it was worth the wait.

Wonder Woman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reese said...

I think I am the only person alive who has never seen a single episode of American Idol. No desire to, either.

Whoever it was who went, glad you had a good time and things worked out well for you.

littleoleme said...

Twisted Sister - I asked because it seems that some people are fanatics about this show. Something like this gets great ratings (I'm assuming) but then well written, acted & directed shows get cancelled. I'm surprised by what North Americans will call quality entertainmnet.

Pamela said...

I think so many people watch it because there really is nothing else on. Lucky I have a DVR full of things I need to catch up on.

jax said...

anything that produced Taylor Hicks is evil in my books.
oh and add that snot Clay in the mix even though he didn't win.

i can totally see this as a good family show but damn grown adults watching this and then swooning over whatever leftover talent is voted to win is disturbing.
see Claymates.

YahMoBThere said...

Littleoleme, I agree with you that great shows do seem to get canceled sometimes.

Hey! I never said it was 'quality' entertainment - just entertainment! ;-)

Jax, that's part of the fun of the show. I NEVER want my favorites to win and I laugh when someone like Hicks does win. He and E19 deserved each other.

jax said...

im going to buy a Tivo like Burger King i'll have it my way.

Twist too bad you cant see Canadian Idol, you would cringe and piss yourself over who gets in.

lyz said...

I LOVE American Idol. I started watching it last year, as I too thought it must be incredibly stupid. However, I have since changed my mind. For the most part, the contestants are regular people working regular jobs and this is a cool chance for them to grab at a dream. Yes, many have more "professional" experience than others, but that's not the norm. Last night David Cook did an absolutely phenominal version of Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean". It's fun and harmless, provides lots of laughs, and even glimpses of real talent.

YahMoBThere said...

Jax, I'm sure I can find something on youtube. I'll buy some Depends

Amber said...

Sara Ramirez was there with her best friend Al Rodriguez, not Chris Daughtry. They resemble, I guess.

Some tabloid will see this and have Sara and Chris married by the end of the month.

OG Gossipmonger said...

i'm taking the side of the lovers!
you can't HATE the show if you DON'T watch it, & if you DO watch it, & hate it, wtf is wrong with YOU!?

califblondy said...

I swore I would never watch when this AI crap first started, but a co-worker at the time raved about the show. After reading all the hoopla, I couldn't stand it any longer so I tuned in and fell in love with Justin. (Ya, I can really pick 'em).

Due to other commitments (Biggest Loser), I haven't tuned in too much this season. Once the Biggest Loser steps on the scale one last time, I'll switch over to AI.

Thanks for the comments from the person attending the show. It sounds like alot of fun.

Ellebee said...

Congrats on getting to see the live show. It sounds like you had a great time. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, it must have been surreal.

The main reason I watch the program is because it is something I can share with my family-both young and old. I can talk to my 5 yr old niece about the show and my older relatives.

This is one of the few shows I do watch as it airs or maybe after the first 10 min on the DVR so I can bypass commercials. Everything else is DVR'd. I cannot imagine watching tv without it. If you don't have one and can afford it, I highly encourage everyone to get a DVR.

what is eight past six? said...

I pretty much cosign on everything robert said - I get why people look down on it but there honestly is not much else in the way of 'family' tv these days. It's a middle America thing, really. And occasionally the show does stumble upon a Kelly, a Carrie, or a Daughtry (and some other lesser, but decently successful artists) or even a Jennifer Hudson, so it's not completely pointless.

I also just wanted to say that Danny Noriega is actually a former contestant from this season. I laughed my ass off at the poster thinking it was Sanjaya. Also, it's Matt Rogers, not Mark Rogers.


Amber said...

Claymates scare me more than Scientologists to be honest.

Judi said...

Performing arts competitions are the modern day variety shows and even though I don't want them, I'm glad they exist. Popularity has nothing to do with quality. It has to do with ratings and sponsors.

YahMoBThere said...

Amber, I don't get Claymates, but to my knowledge, they've never killed anyone. ;-)

liveunderarock said...

Thanks for sharing your experience at AI! That is a great story of a fun evening.
I like hearing accounts of what it is like behind the scenes and what is involved in getting tickets for any show. It doesn't matter whether I watch the show or not.

Anonymous poster said...

Tks for the corrections. I keep getting m names all mixed up and I was having trouble finding the name to go with a name tag. I was in a hurry to type it up and get on with my day.

NatD said...

Hey Kitty, quick question: do the producers ask the mosh pit members to do the "arm waving" and "beat clapping"? I only ask because I find it to be EXTREMELY ANNOYING. I'm not saying this to dis you or your friend, and I wish I could attend a taping myself. I just always get annoyed with inappropriate audience participation, as I think it distracts from the performance itself.

However, I could totally see some lame-ass producer encouraging the mosh pit people to do things like this.

Thanks for the write up!

YahMoBThere said...

Natd, I couldn't agree more. How cheezy and annoying! I just HATE it.

Anonymous poster said...

Vip or mosh pit, they come with their signs ready and without prompting.

The arm waving and clapping is encouraged since we are on camera, and prepped us to be even more so for the Queen cover.

Yes, it may be cheesy, but when you're there, it's all part of the experience. You're surrounded by 100's of teenage girls and their parent/chaperons who are all into the experience, and it's fun to join along.

Of course, being in the back, you wouldn't really have seen much of us if we had just been standing & snarking, rather than clapping and waving.


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