"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, seeing American Idol live ... well, apparently not for you," commented my new pilot friend from Utah. Somehow in the midst of our laughters & idol enjoyment, we never did get each others names.
I thought the same thing back in March when I won the American Idol tickets for the Top 20 result show with Danny Gokey; however, yesterday I embarked on my third trip this season to see the show. I can't pass up a free concert, even if I have to drive 2.5 hours to get there.
On Friday, I got the email that I was less than expecting. Having already received tickets from ocatv.com last month (after I won tickets), I wasn't expecting to go again. It had taken a year the first time around, and I only registered the 2nd email a little over a month ago. But I was more than willing to go again.
My friend Melody and I (she went to the Top 8 Guys rehearsal with me) arrived at The Grove at 11am. We passed up getting lunch to make sure we were their early to get a good spot in line. Even two hours early, we were about 50th in line (the studio seats about 450).
One of my favorite things about the experience are the people you meet. One of the first questions always asked..."So who are you voting for?" Plus I'm a people watcher & I enjoy ease-dropping on conversations... What? People are entertaining and when you are standing outside for almost 2 hours, you need entertainment. It also makes for an easy transition to start up a conversation...
We met some Casey James fan (that, I am not). They are actually from his hometown in Texas and know his mother --> PTA connection, I believe it was. They were crazy ladies, but a ton of fun. I guess Kara isn't the only cougar fan out there.
Casey tidbit --> His family is selling t-shirts to help pay for all the trips out to Hollywood.A little before 1pm they started checking tickets and herding us like cattle into the waiting area. Going through security, they took away my life line. No, not really, but they did confiscate my phone. I guess they don't trust me. Like I would spoil the show for anyone. Oh, wait... :)
The metal detector goes off Every. Single. Time. someone walks through it, yet they do nothing! What's the point...? I walked through & sat down next to the person who was in front of me. After a few good minutes I realized that the 'Lil Rounds look-a-like' was telling people where to sit (I never saw a pattern to their seating arrangements). With Melody's nudge, I got up to make sure we sat where we should have. She said we were fine where we were, so I went back & sat down. Not 30 seconds later, the 'Lil Rounds look-a-like' walks over to me and asks, "Well, did you guys want to stand in the pit?"
"YESSSS!!!"In the moment I excused myself to pretend like I was a twelve year old fan. I was really excited. We were moved two benches back to sit with the 'cool kids.' To our right, was the Utah pilot & his wife. (Who I originally thought was very attractive till I saw the ring on his finger. The cute ones are always married). :/ It was at this point we sat... and we sat... and we sat. People continued to walk through the security and the place was packed full. Chaos, I tell you.
Yet somehow in the midst of chaos, they have order. And that order meant our row (and side) went in first. Yes! Prime-time spot, right in front/next to the stage! Bring it, American Idol!
The studio is much smaller than it seems on TV. I said this during semi-finals (which it really is smaller), but it's crazy to see the transformation from a 75+ seating, Red Room & smaller circular stage to a 450+ seating, huge stage, and an orchestra overhead. Wow! It's awesome. And it was all right there in front of us.
Of course, Idol doesn't want to disappoint, so they do some rearranging. I told the people around me to "think pretty;" however, it seems the lady rearranged based on height? Yet she stuck 2 boys (who happened to be taller than us) in front. Come to found out, they have never even seen an episode of American Idol. Lame. We still had a great spot, but still...
While we waited for Ryan to show up with chatted with the security/stage guy on our side. He was super nice! He tried to get some tickets for his friends on ocatv.com, but couldn't figure it out. I guess not everyone connected to Idol has access to free tickets. Though, he does get Finale tickets for the performances (which I totally tried to get from him). He said tickets for the finale are IMPOSSIBLE to get. :/ This is why I have entered every contest that comes my way.
He mentioned something about a lunch break and I said how we skipped lunch to get in line early. He later shared his Nutter Butters with us! He even hopped on stage during a segment taping of us cheering to give them to me. Score! Yes, that one Nutter Butter cracker & the adrenaline rush held me over for 12 hours. The best part was trying to hide it when we were taping. :)
Debbie let us in on an interesting fact about the B.E.P performance,
Anyone notice that during the Black Eyed Peas Performance during IGB that the band was not quite complete until ... the middle of the song? Before cutting to the Pasadena Theatre, Ryan was told to stall because will.i.am was not even in the theatre (This is when he walked over to the contestants & started chatting)! will.i.am's car had broken down & he had to run on foot to get to the show & arrived just in time to do his little dance thing.
Finally, Ryan arrives and we can get the rehearsal started. He seemed tamer than he was a few weeks ago when we visited a rehearsal, but he was definitely still Ryan (especially when it came to him introducing the Idols). As the Idols came out on stage, the crowd went c.r.a.z.y.
Lee definitely does not take these moments for granted & a smile beamed from his face. You could tell he was soaking it all in. Siobhan & Crystal were
During the intro to the show, as Ryan was 'reading' the prompter, he decided to have a little fun. Instead of "Paint Salesman," Lee apparently worked at a yogurt shop. As the crows chuckles, Lee's face was priceless. The speakers on the stage don't workgood and often the Idols can't hear what is being said into a mic.