Tuesday, April 26, 2011

S10: Top 7 Result Show

First off, can we discuss why Section X has not been "X'd" from the set? I just can't with it. Not only are you forced to stare at the judges the whole time, you have to watch the show from a video screen. A video screen! If I wanted to do that, I would watch it from home in HD with audio, that I could actually hear, while in my PJs all cozy on the couch. The view is awful & the sound almost inaudible for most of the show. More than half of the section just remains on their feet the entire show so they can at least see partial bodies instead of bobbing heads.

Needless to say, I was in Section X tonight. The far back corner, stage right. Yes, so far back in the corner, me & the plastic wall got a little frisky. I even have a Section X battle wound on my arm.

Interesting stats from tonight's show. We were 90-92 in line, some friends (who had to step out of the line until their full party was present) were 130-133. My group was in the second section of people to get tickets (all section X). My friends were standby...so essentially, they got some pretty awesome seats. A lady who was #173, did not get in.

So basically, out of the 700 seats in the studio, maybe 150 of them are for "non-special" people. By "non-special" people I mean they are NOT famous or a past idol, part of a school group, press, or friends & family of anyone related to CBS, FOX, 19, Interscope or American Idol.

Just an interesting thought considering the waiting list is a year long.

The show kind of started out of nowhere. Corey came out for five minutes and suddenly, the video reel started for the super overly dramatic intro. Cue the judges, Ryan and the contestants. What did the judges say? I have no clue, couldn't hear a blessed thing. But I am sure it went along the lines of, "They are beautiful. It was beautiful. Life is beautiful."

Why? Why, oh, why must you torture us with THIS song! I'd rather hear a second rendition of "So What" by the S10 booties! Ok...maybe not, that was just tragic. From my seat, it didn't sound horrible but that does not say much. [watching it back on TV, I'd say those girls ran marathons around those boys]. But can we retire this song forever now? Please?

Oh, and Haley's outfit. Was she taking fashion tips from Jennifer Nettles of Sugerland? Spring came and left its mark. Though, I admit, I much prefer Haley's interpretation of spring, and she worked it as always. Oh, and those heels!

Cue Ford Video...nap time!

I could barely hear the vocals for this...but the girls in the section by Scotty were freaking out. I should just mention now that Scotty wins hands down for most fans in the audience...every time. There is never a question about it. The ladies L.O.V.E. him.

Did this seem like more of a "production" that the first group's song? Maybe it was just me, but the lights and such...I dunno. I'm always suspicious these days. Always looking out for the producers' manipulation tools. Got to say, not as evident tonight..or was it? More on that down below.

Corey, the MC, spent the evening passing out signed merch to overly enthusiastic fans. I mean..OVERLY enthusiastic fans. Yes, I am talking to you cougars decked out in sparkles. Uh huh.

Lauren gave away a shirt to a little girl in the back. Of course, another little girl thought she was the winner of the shirt and followed her down to the stage. To make up for it, Corey got Lauren to come back later & sign a shirt for her, too.

The "Hey, Hey Haley!" guy got a signed water bottle & an awkward wave from Haley. Some uber excited Stefano fan got a signed notebook thrown at him. Scotty got to hand out a water bottle to this girl who continuously thru the night could not hold her sign correctly. I think she wins for most exuberant fan in the audience. If her excitement were tears, she'd be the next "crying girl."

Another lucky Scotty fan got to come on stage and get a hug from him. Her sign said something about a hug from Scotty would make her day, and Corey made some joke about security would have to do their job? Whatever. Scotty jumped out of his seat to hug her, and she was like a little kitten almost scared to get to close.

Lastly, all the remaining idols signed a book bag to be handed out to the most animated fan during the night. It was given to a young girl in a wheelchair who, though she had an ideal seat, had to stare at the screen behind her when everyone stood...which is most of the night. Not a very thought out handicap section, Idol.

Corey completely ignored the balcony. :( It was like we didn't exist. Rejected, as always. Actually, I felt like the whole balcony was non-existant for the entire show. Lights were always dim, few of the idols actually took notice, no acknowledgement from Corey or Ryan. No love for the audience rejects.

Sitting in the nose bleeds, one of my favorite past times (since I can't see the stage most of the time) is watching the teleprompter and the 'time till commercial' countdown. The lyrics to the songs are always displayed. Very helpful when you want to sing-a-long! And then knowing what Ryan will say before he says or what the topic will be before discussed...I know, so exciting!

But they spoil all the fun when it comes to results and it says "begin reading from cards." Boo.

David came out while the crew was setting up the stage. He chatted with Debbie (stage manager) for a moment then spun around to say hi to the audience. I suppose there have been a "few" minor changes since his days on the idol stage. :)

Cook sang his new single, "The Last Goodbye." And just in case he needed any lyric help, the words were streamed on the monitor for him. Though, I really think they were there just so Section X could sing along. To which, I did, but I also spent the first 45 minutes of my drive up to LA playing back the song over & over again to learn the lyrics.

Casey seemed to really enjoy Cook's performance. He was grooving right along. All the idols were on their feet for the whole song. Unlike the judges who always seem to just remain seated during & after stellar performances (oh no, I have not forgotten the failed respect to the Idol Queen, Kelly Clarkson).

Cook threw out his pic and Casey Abram's mom caught it. Her face was like this --> :O and then she began to flail. No joke. She was like a cougar at a rock concert, and I would totally go to a concert with her! No doubt she is a DC fan. Even hugged her friend next to her and showed off her new pic.

Following the performance & the little chit chat with Ryan, Steven Tyler was the first to skyrocket out of his seat to greet Cook & shake his hand. Randy followed, while Jennifer remained seated. Nigel also jumped up on stage to see Cook and escort him over to Jennifer who was busy chatting with some fans behind her. She was surprised to see David standing there when she turned around.

A few other crew members went to say hi before David took a seat in Simon's former chair, now belonging to Randy. He enjoyed it very much, while giving a very sophisticated pose for the camera with his chin on hand grinning. He then waited while Jennifer got touched up before taking a photo.

With a minute remaining, he jumped back on stage and went straight to Jacob, offering him some quick words. Then rushed over to the couch to shake hands with the other six, and Lauren even got a hug. One last quick goodbye to the audience, and he was off stage and the show was back.

Well, if you didn't know, Katy Perry's performance was pre-taped after last week's performance show. The funny thing, only a small handful of people in the studio audience had any idea (me!). Every time they mentioned her performing, people would flip out. They never once told them they would be watching a video.

I don't know why people were not cued in when there was no setup during commercial break (it's Katy Perry folks...it will be a production), and the stools were left on stage (though Jacob & Stefano did join Debbie backstage).

After the commercial break, when Ryan announced Katy Perry, everyone jumps up and starts screaming and just stared at the empty stage. Once the doors opened & she 'walks out'...the audience's applause slows almost to an unconscious clap. The level went from a 10 to a 3. They were seeing her enter the stage from the screen, but not actually ON the stage. People in the balcony (section X) were eve more confused because they can't even see that part of of the stage.

It was just awkward. Some people remained standing. Why I have no idea? Maybe they thought she would magically appear on stage? A few clapped along. Others, they sat there in disappointment, or relief <-- me.

I'm not going to lie, I cheered quietly when both Stefano & Jacob were sent to the B3. I must be 'Heartless,' I guess. They both have lasted longer than I expected, or would have desired them to last. Haley has outlasted her expected stay, as well, but...that's because I thought America didn't get her. Thank goodness she is pulling through each week (Haley Reinhart FTW!)

Speaking of Haley. The great debate of S10 (or so it seems): Was Haley B3?

Ryan never said she was B3 or announced all three of them as the B3. He did say there was 'one seat left in the B3' and then sent Haley 'over to the stools.' Honestly, when he called Scotty & Haley down, I thought maybe Scotty had a good chance at being B3 after his performance the night prior. So, I wonder. Hmm....Idol manipulation?

I actually had thought Casey had a slim chance of being B3 instead of Haley. Though you have to admit, Haley's adventures to the stools are always quite entertaining. I wasn't paying too much attention to reactions during her short lived time at the stools, I was to excited to see her survive!

No doubt Stefano knew it was his time. I mean...the kid has been connected to three of the most tragic idol eliminations this season: Casey, Pia, and Paul (okay, Paul was tragic for me). Needless to say, he took it like a man. I mean, besides James tackling him...

Okay, can we talk about Durbano/Durfano? Is that what people are calling them? James' head immediately went down when Stefano was eliminated. Even Lauren tried to console him but he wouldn't have it. Ryan actually motioned him off the couches in preparation to go hug (I mean, tackle) Stefano.

After all the hugging, and Randy's attempt to console James (who was the one leaving tonight?), the idols departed from the stage...except Stefano. He ran down to give his dad a big hug, and then gave one final goodbye moment on stage....

Stefano morphed into Rocky & edged on the crowd as they cheered for him. He was prancing around the stage with his hands in a victory stance. You'd think he just won the show, not been eliminated. He went out proud, he went out in style. Good for him!

And that was that....another idol show for the record books.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

S10: Top 9 Performance Taping

I figured since I failed to blog about Top 12 Performance & Result Shows, that I owed you this one...even if it is a week later.

I apologize for writing a book. I sometimes get carried away when I write, and go off on a lot of tangents. I try to give you all the details that I can remember.

Christy & I met in front of CBS Studios about 12pm. Later than we planned, but to our luck we were 5 & 6 in line! [Arriving there at noon 3 weeks ago landed us in the 60s.] However, through our experiences this season, we have come to realize your placement in line is worthless, unless you get there too late & don't make it in.

I overheard a conversation a few weeks back that they only let in about 200-300 people from the OCA waiting list. The other 400 people are friends/family of those who work for Idol/19/CBS/Fox/etc, the contestants and celebrities. Lame.

While finishing up our awesome posters (Paul McDonald is on "Top of the World" & "Casey Play my Bassy") we heard this man's voice yell from a car, "Make it dirty!" We look up and lo and behold it is Steven Tyler leaning out the window looking right at us. "The sign, make it dirty...for me!" Dirty old man.

For the Lee DeWyze fans: Mike DeWyze randomly drove by & got stuck at the traffic light. That was an awkward moment for us all. Ha.

To our fortune & misfortune we received 'Section Y.' At least it wasn't the dreaded Section X (where sound & view become irrelevant). Section Y is located right above the band, where the backup singers often stand when not on stage. It is a relatively good view of the entire studio & stage. The sound is 'meh' since you are above the band...vocals tend to be more difficult to hear.

For some odd reason, which I can't complain because it is better than being stuck in the sun, they brought us in an hour till showtime. In our section there are 10 seats. The two girls in front of us were diehard Scotty fans. They were adorable. I had to remind them to breath when he came out. You can see their "Scotty is a Hottie" sign hanging during his performance later on. The girls behind us...didn't know when to shut up (as most of the audience couldn't either). They were fans of...everyone. The couple sitting next to us were quiet. I don't think the guy cared to be there as he had never seen the show before. Then there was Christy & I. Need I say more?

Speaking of the audience...could they be more annoying on Wednesday night? Not sure how much you could hear on TV (as I haven't watched it back yet) but they kept yelling out the judges names during the "critique" (aka "everyone is all peaches & cream") time. About half way through the show, Corey (the MC guy) had to scold the audience for interrupting the show so many times. One girl screamed so loud for Jennifer that I thought she might pass out. Keep it classy Idol fans....

Casey & Haley's families seem really tight. They chatted together for a significant amount of time before the show began. Pia's family just sat there in their neon shirts. Paul's family was quiet, too. His dad made notice of my sign a number of times & kept trying to get my attention with his. :) They had a huge sign from his Elementary School, but I'm not sure they showed it on TV. I only saw them wave it once. Julie Zorrilla was there & chatted with the Casey & Pia's family before getting seated way in the back.

Scott McIntyre & fiance were also in the audience again. I doubt Ryan will ever point him out. So sad. I didn't notice Christian Slater till about half way through the show, and had my first starstruck moment.

One of the two perks of our seats is that we can see behind the doors/screen on the stage. So before the show started we were making contact with Casey & Stefano. Stefano had a hard time making a heart from his hands & Casey kept teasing us.

Debbie gave us some instructions for the opening of the show but I was too distracted watching the boys behind the stage to hear anything she said. Everyone kept tripping on the mini staircase (See Stefano's performance) waiting in the back.

Finally, the infamous words "This is American Idol" and the show begins!

Jacob starts us off and I was flipping out during his video segment. First, he wants to do a Matt Giraud song, and then ends up doing a Kris Allen song? Thank you for reminding us how awesome season 8 was, is, and always will be. (Kradison FTW) I don't know what Miles was thinking but that outfit was not enduring, and I had to stare at Jacob's butt during the whole performance. No. Standing during his performance was almost a forced feel, though I noticed Nigel was NOT encouraging the crowd on...for once. I think this was when the one girl let out a deafening scream for Jennifer, and Jacob thought it was for him.....

Who else thought it was Naima on stage as the extra backup singer?

I was a tad worried with Haley being in the "death spot" tonight. I've actually liked her since her audition. She was my original pick for winner, until I discovered Pia's 'Sing For Your Life' performance. (so much for that...) She was a bit interactive with the crowd beforehand. Her performance had people on their feet in seconds! By far my favorite Haley performance, even if I had a hard time really hearing her vocals (again, the band).

I have no idea what the judges said about Haley because I was slightly distracted by the events occurring behind me. All we hear is this country accent, "Oh, I like your dress!" Turn around and there is Lauren & (to Christy's delight) Casey, just chilling on the staircase. Of course, by this time everyone around us had noticed (and as the annoying crowd they were, made note of it vocally...mind you most of those flipping out where the cougars). Christy showed Casey her sign and he gave her a grin & a fist pump.

After they walked down, the usher responds: "See, I told you these were the best seats in the house!" My response: "Liar!" [Sit me right next to Brad Pitt in Section X, and I'd still call the seats crappy, I want to see & hear the performances].

I went to grab my phone from my purse when I saw the upright bass wheeling in from backstage, then I realized my phone was in a plastic bin outside with security. I couldn't be more excited to see Casey finally bring back the bass. He's been all over the place for me, and though this was not the greatest performance, I'd take it over "Smells Like Teen Spirit" any day. I like when Casey doesn't scare me. He loves to take in the crowd, making sure to face every section of seating to wave hi. And his parents are the most adorable of them all. (I did meet his dad afterward and he's too nice).

Lauren was anxiously waiting behind the stage during her video package. You could tell she was reviewing the song in her head while she waited. My biggest note to Lauren....don't ever let Gwen Stefani dress you ever again. You are too old/too young for diapers. I was actually watching the screen in the back during her performance & I kept thinking they were ruining the shots since you could see the cameraman walking in front of her, but I guess they don't show the actually TV footage on that screen, just one camera shot. (sometimes it isn't even on so people in Section X can't see anything.)

James appeared behind us during Lauren's critique time. His presence kind of startled me. I knew he'd be standing in front of our section for the cut to commercial. He just stood there in silence, and the girls behind me starting flipping out. Again, making too much commotion while the cameras were rolling. He did his thing in front of us...I may be on camera, I dunno, but I definitely had a fake smile on. Christy got a high five on the way out, she said he has soft hands.

It's amazing to see what happens when the cameras stop rolling for commercial breaks. Suddenly, the doors are opened and the strings were wheeled in & some of the stage guys do the "Turban Slide" towards it to lock it into place as fast as they could. It's fascinating! High fives to all the behind the scenes folks at Idol, you rock! As soon as I saw the strings, I knew this would be a toned down James...which I prefer, if I prefer anything of James. [Sorry, I just can't.]

If my memory serves me right, this is the performance where Nigel stands in the middle of the audience and tries to get them to start up the sway bots. Uh no, Nigel, I refuse to diminish myself to a sway bot with or without the sway pits. He is so aggressive about it, too. It's like he is saying with his arms, "Do it! Do it now!" Then he gives that fully accomplished grin he wears when he knows he succeeded.

Scotty peeked out from behind the stage before his performance and the two girls in front of my squealed. "Don't forget to breath, girls," I had to remind them often. They were adorable. They hung their sign from the railing. Scotty knows how to work the audience during his performance and off camera. They love him. Biggest cheers no doubt about it. Girls have signs for him everywhere....most of them being some version of "Scotty is a Hottie."

Besides the girls in front of me, I may have been the first on my feet. I loved every ounce of Scotty's performance, though listening back I realize it wasn't his best vocals. But performance wise...this guys has got it all down pat.

I watched Nigel gather the group of girls from the audience. Yes, it was not a "random" happening, it was a Nigel manipulation moment. He had them waiting there (they looked ready to pee their pants) and then motioned for them to rush the stage. Cue Nigel's fully accomplished smirk. [I noticed while watching his performance back you can see Nigel walk behind the judges at one point to grab two girls from the far corner].

I read that Pia suffers from stage fright, especially when performing more upbeat songs. No doubt about it. She was standing right below us and no matter how loud the girls behind me called her name, she was oblivious. She walked behind the stage and you could feel the tension as she ran through her performance in her head. I caught her eye, and she finally looked up, smiled & waved. So I got the girls to yell her name again and she heard them.

The stage guys worked on getting the smoke machine going, and literally pulled away the tube & ran off stage seconds before her performance began. I was digging it. I love Pia. She was suppose to win....(I demand a recount, it was the hanging chads.)

There was one moment, where tragedy could have struck. After the cameraman walked around her, the cord got wrapped around her heels, and the cameraman jumped off the stage. Luckily, the chord guy noticed and did not pull the chord with him, otherwise, she would have ate it. Not sure if she realized it either but she gracefully stepped over the chord after awhile before walking to the judges' table. Tragedy adverted.

[Last time I was in attendance Paul & Stefano almost suffered the same tragedy, only Paul did stumble slightly (the cameras did not get that shot).]

Note the adorable daughter of Christian Slater. Her & her dad were jamming during the whole show. Seriously, Christian Slater was always up on his feat, rocking his head to the beat. Who knew he was such a fan?

Random staircase in the middle of the stage. I watched the stage crew bring the staircase in from the elephant doors to the backstage area before the show started. That's not a light staircase. But why, it is so random? Maybe it's just me. It was my 2nd least favorite performance of the night, and I feel the audience may have agreed with me. Slow song or not, people get up on their feet....but only a few people made it to their feet by the end of his performance (usually those in front).

Randy, thanks you for at least giving Stefano something to work with. While the audience booed, I nodded my head in agreement. Come on judges, not everything is rainbows & unicorns. Let's actually critique the singers, no matter how good they were. Give them something so they can grow! [This goes for all the contestants, not just Stefano.]

Note: I am a big fan of Paul, though I do not want him to win idol nor do I think he will win idol. So I am a bit biased when it comes to him. :)

It's bad enough that I always grin from ear-to-ear when Paul performs but this performance was just awesome in every way. When he gets on stage, he always acknowledges the crowd. Waving hello, reading signs, doing his "oh, just stop it" hand gestures (in a humble way, not cocky). He was laughing at himself during the video package, and so ready to jam.

It didn't take less than one note for the audience to be on its feet dancing along. You forget you are watching idol in a moment like this. You become engulfed by the music and the atmosphere, and you don't want it to end. Well, at least I didn't...and from the jamboree afterward, I'd say nobody else did either.

The hoedown alone made this the best taping ever. It lasted through the entire recap video. We didn't even get to hear the recap because the band just kept on playing and the idols kept on dancing. Well...all of them except Pia. She tried to avoid it all the best she could. Debbie had to keep jumping on the stage and redirecting them to the middle because they were all over the stage. Paul & Lauren did their twitvid routine. He started dancing with his guitar in hand before one of the stage crew grabbed it for him. Casey & Haley were practically attached at hip. I didn't even know the show had ended. They went on playing & dancing for about 2 minutes after they cut.

The idols stuck around on stage for awhile saying hi to fans. As Paul exited around back, he made one last intentional glance in my directions & waved goodbye. <3 Scotty came towards us and pretty much made the girls in front swoon.

Then out of nowhere, the band starts playing "happy birthday." I want to say the guys name was Steve? But I don't recall. He came out and there was a birthday cake, everyone was singing. Then the idols came rushing out and the boys literally attacked the guy with hugs. It was one of those "aw" moments that America missed out on (like Lee DeWyze's speech after he won last season, an "aw" moment not caught on camera).

That's when you realize how special it is to be in the audience. To experience the idols off camera moments, and see true personalities shine. You also learn to appreciate those behind the scenes, and notice the relationships they build with the contestants. Not to mention the amazing MC, Corey, who pumps up the crowd & passes out idol merchandise all night. Didn't get anything this time, but I do have my Paul McDonald t-shirt from Top 12 night. :)

Afterward, we had dinner at The Grove's Cheesecake Factory. I heard it is an Idol hot spot, as the idols often go have dinner with their families after performance shows. Sure enough, while sitting out on the patio, we saw Lauren speed walking (by herself) thru the mall in her bright blue sweatshirt & sweat pants. She got stopped a couple times, and even did a quick dance move for a group of girls who were at the show.

I guess she eventually made way to the CKF. We had seen her family waiting outside. Someone said she kept going in and out of the restaurant. We walked by her as we were exiting, she was eating and chatting with the cute male waiter. You go girl!

Someone tweeted me while we were there that Scotty and his family were also at CKF. We actually ran into him on our way out, as he was leaving, too. So I stopped and said hello. We talked about how great everyone did tonight & how it would be a hard vote. Then he held open the door for us. True southern gentleman! :)

Then I spent the next two hours driving home. Ha.


Another great taping, another adventure for the books. Until next time....
(David Cook anyone? Me!)