Ryan Seacrest joked around that there was probably an undercover reporter in the audience. Little did he know I was taking it all in to later share with the world. :)
What did I learn about Ryan tonight? He was not the same person that he was during the live taping last Thursday. Though, at first those around me agreed that he seemed 'fake & scripted,' he quickly proved to be a bit ... crazy?? Either he was pumped up on Red Bull or forgot to take his Ritalin this morning.
There is a whole different side of Idol that we don't get to see. Three sides, I think. 1) What we see on TV, 2) What the people in the live studio audience experience, and 3) Everyone's true colors: the rehearsal.
Last week I had the chance to see American Idol live during the result show. Awesome! This week, I got to attend the Top 8 Guys rehearsal. Next week ... I'll probably be tweeting live .. from my couch.
It's much more convenient getting dropped off by a Limo at the blue awning, taking a few simple steps around back and sitting with the family & friends. But, when you are one of the lucky few (more like 70+ people) who get picked from the waiting list, it's another story. We parked at The Grove & walked over to Genesse Ave. Waited for an hour, finally got walked back, only to wait in the cold wind for another 30 minutes or so. It was cold! Even then you were not guaranteed a seat. Don't be late either. Idol is strict on time and space.
Blackberry anonymous. That should be the group Ryan attends daily. When was he not on his phone, tweeting? Want proof? Check his Twitter account! He posted a picture from rehearsal (barely missed the shot).
I was excited last week to see them all live. Even more excited this week to see the boys perform LIVE! It may have only been a rehearsal, but it was good enough for me. The show takes an hour, with the talkative judges. The rehearsal took about an hour & a half, with no judge commentary. A lot goes on....
First up was Lee DeWyze (Vote Lee!) singing 'Fireflies.' I was hyped up about this performance. 1) I love this song, 2) Lee is my favorite. Watching it back, he sounds so much better live. I'm telling you guys, the TV does him no justice. It was practically flawless. I was ready to end the show there & declare a winner. The room practically floated with him as he sang. It's great to see him with a smirk in his eyes. He appears to be a deep thinker and I really think he's gaining the confidence to take this show on with full force & fight for his place.
LIE: I was always amazed how quickly they gathered footage to show during the 'recap' section at the end, especially with the last performance.
FACT: That footage is from the rehearsal!! Oh! That makes perfect sense!
Ryan dreams Idol. He won't be paying attention when the theme music starts to play, and no matter where he is, he is suddenly on the idol prowl. He jumps out of nowhere ready to ace the camera. He even demonstrated for us a night's sleep where he suddenly jerks awake and yells, "This IS American Idol."
Alex! Poor guy looked like a nervous wreck just standing there during the practice intro. Again, I wanted to yell, 'Alex, you rock!' but I didn't. To be honest, looking back at his rehearsal, I don't remember much, but I might have been on a Lee high... I do love his voice & I think he did better in the live performance. P.s. I want to give a shout out to Ellen for her bananas. Sometimes, she actually just makes sense.
Question: Do the judges attend the rehearsal? No. (Though I hear they sometimes sneak-a-peek.) Instead, the have 'fillers.' They don't get to talk much, they just help with giving some time estimates, but if they ever need a stand in, these guys know their characters (at least the 'Randy' & 'Kara' fillers). Too funny. 'Yo, Dawg, that was a bit pitchy, dawg.'
I brought my friend Melody with me (FYI, she hasn't watched this season at all) and guess who her favorite was?? Tim Urban. Let me tell you about the 'gasp' that was heard around CBS studio. 'Tim Urban is up next singing 'Hallelujah,' GASP.....
Not a closed mouth in the audience. Tim just turns around rocking his head with a smirk on his face. My thought, 'Woah, he's got to have a lot gut to pull this off.' And wow, was I surprised. I walked out of the studio feeling like I had the world's biggest secret in hand. Just wait, just wait till they hear him sing this! Way to fight for your right to ... stay on Idol. With his solid fan base that has saved him the last two weeks and the angels singing with him tonight...he just might crack the Top 12.
Random note: The girls joined the audience, as they do on the show, but one was missing! Katelyn was nowhere to be found. Some girl from the audience got to sit in her place. Um, Miss .. if you get the privilege to sit next to Siobhan Magnus put a smile on your face! Don't look so angry and bored. Maybe she was mad that she didn't get to sit by her friend, but really, you are surrounded by the future of the music industry. Katelyn later rejoined and Lilly went missing (what goes on behind the Idol stage, I so want to know!!). She eventually returned so the girl was rescued to her friend behind me.
I had this idea on Monday: How great would it be if one of the guys sang Christina Aguilera's "Genie In a Bottle?' Andrew could break it down. Now imagine me sitting in the audience when Ryan says, 'Andrew's gonna take on Christina..' Woah. I love Andrew and I wish the world wasn't so hard on him. He is not a one-hit wonder. One thing I did noticed during the rehearsal, he had this hesitation about his performance. He wasn't too sure about it. I liked it. The judges didn't. (I almost wanted to break out into my Jr. High dance moves to the song...) Back to the live taping, anyone notice him stumbling the first line? Eek. Ellen: 'The Genie came out of the bottle too late.' Agreed. Someone mentioned that they preferred the end of the song over anything else.
Ryan: "So far in this competition, Andrew has covered ... Richard Simmons."
Andrew: Looks up, confusion & panic shadow his face.
The difference between the live show & rehearsal. 1) Interaction 2) Excitement 3) My BFF, the MC. Walking into the live show, the music was blaring, the lights were on, the people were excited. Walking into the rehearsal, the lights were dim, there was no music, and everyone kept to a whisper or silence. It took a while for Ryan to warm up, though Debbie was having a blast bossing him around. I love Debbie (stage manager). She's awesome.
If you want to guarantee your way into the live taping from the rehearsal, aim to be sat in the section to the left of the stairs. Of course, you have no power when it comes to this, but a little persuasion never hurt, right? It's the 'money spot'-if you sit here, you will be on TV. And apparently, they ask you to stay for the taping, too. Rats! So those folks sitting there tonight, most of them were at the rehearsal.
Casey...Casey...Casey. You could hear a pin drop during his rehearsal. It looked like it took effort for people to get up and applaud his performance. I kind of spaced out, oops. I was reviewing the line up and/or staring off into Lee's direction, maybe. Melody's opinion ... The guitar was fantastic. Watching it back, yeah, still not a fan. Didn't they almost give him a big 'No' during auditions? Simon said no, Kara & Posh lusted, and Randy ... Let the girls have this one. Why, Randy, why??
The guys didn't interact with the audience as much as the taping. I figure it was nerves. Instead of hanging out on the 'fence' of the Red Room, they huddled on the couches till it was their turn to sing or watch the performances. Even on the stage they seemed to be wondering like a 'lost duck.' Then there is Todrick flashing his moves ever chance he gets.
Oops, during rehearsal Casey tried running off the stage with the stool. I think Aaron needed that. That was just the first mishap during Aaron's practice. He was cut off in the middle of the song by Debbie. I guess there were some sound problems. I thought she was just waving him off the stage at first. I didn't think he sounded that bad. Melody pointed out that he had tangled up some of his words. Surprised? No. At least he is finding filler words unlike Hollywood weel. I like Aaron. He's 16 and can sing. He definitely could have a future, but like Haeley he needs a year(s) of fine tuning. Wow, watching it back, he was MUCH better live. He's got an awkward stage presence, makes it uneasy to watch. Ryan likes to pick on him, of course, not on camera.
Crystal & Lilly seemed to have a blast watching the guys. They were doing some kind of leg stretches while waiting... Everyone else had this deep thoughtful expression. Worry, perhaps. If I were some of them, I would be worried, too. Ryan seems to have a good connection with them. That's nice. Speaking of Ryan, did I mention he's a goofball? Really, he is. He stole Debbie's headset and started doing the weather. He hit on older Asian lady... well, not quite, but it was funny. He tried to get her to vote for him.
Ha ha. I love Todrick. This guy is funny and very energetic. One of the guys sitting by me wanted him to do a flip on stage, "A flip? Who's paying?" Not sure if ya'll got a good look at his pants, but they had faces on them. Yes, faces. A little creepy. The best part, he sang to us. When he kneels down to sing to the audience, it was right where we were sitting. Woot! He seems like a nice, genuine type of guy. He loves life & he loves to entertain. He didn't do too bad tonight, not sure it will save him, but at least he just sang the song rather than re-make the song. Right? "1-800-Todrick."
Side note: If you ever attend an Idol taping, just ignore the dress code. 'No jeans, no heels, no white...' No, they don't care. We broke all those rules and got in. Well, not to the taping, but still.
Big Mike is 'pimping' it out tonight. Anyone notice that Lee & him switched spots from last week? Mike barely got into his first verse when Debbie stopped him. Ryan had to redo his part for the .. third time? Gestures, Ryan, gestures! Take two ... Ha ha, the mic stand went crazy during rehearsal. Big Mike has a lot of power. It almost flopped over. Wow, he can sing. Again, another one that was even better live. Can you imagine that? That was good, really good. Not sure I would cry over it. Really, Kara? Really?
During rehearsal, non-Ritalin Ryan jumps up on stage, "Did you choreograph those moves, Mike? Because you were like here, and then here. Here and then ..." Jumps on Mike's back! 'Vote for Michael. 1-800..... Whew.' Yes, he actually did jump on him during rehearsal. I think Ryan is overworked.
They do, in a sense, choreograph their steps. The camera has to know where to be, so much time is spent camera placing before they sing. Todrick: 'I'll be getting my groove on right here for ya'll.' And microphone stands... it appears they have a stand set and ready for each contestant. It's amazing what goes on right next to Ryan when he is talking into the camera. One moment the stage is clear, the next ... a stool, guitar and Casey. Out of nowhere. Don't be surprised to learn that Debbie might be standing to the left of Ryan while he is chatting up the camera. Props to everyone who works behind the scenes on Idol. They work hard!
The boys come back for one last plea for votes. Cue the pre-recorded videos. Hey, that's me! Totally made it on TV during the recaps .. Thank you, Alex & Todrick!
And it is over...
The girls run off, the boys make their way back to the Red Room & out. I've got my purse in hand, ready to fight for my spot at the tapping. Unfortunately, I forgot my plan in the midst of the rush, and it delayed me running over to the line. We were #21 & #22. After waiting, an hour, in the cold wind, with no jacket, they only took 13 people. Bummer. Just missed it. Next time.
Oh, and yes, I am sure there will be a next time. *Fingers crossed*