Tuesday, August 10, 2010

American Idol

August has been the month of visitors.  And it started with Mom. :)

Mom has been begging me for the better part of a decade to audition for American Idol.  So when I found out that there would be auditions in New Jersey this year, I gave Mom the ultimatum: come out to visit me in New York, and I'll audition for American Idol.  How could she say no?

Mom flew in on July 31st, and the next morning, we set out on our adventure.

Getting to the Izod Center in East Rutherford shouldn't be much of a hassle; it's only seven miles from Manhattan.  But transportation early on a Sunday morning is never simple, especially when it involves New Jersey Transit.  After a bunch of running around, Mom and I finally got in line outside the Izod Center around 10am.  Within two hours, we had our wristbands and tickets which were our golden tickets to the auditions the following Tuesday.

Mom and I left the apartment at 3am on Tuesday and were in line at the Izod Center by 5am.  Never in my life have I seen so many people in a line at 5am.  I wasn't one of those girls who obsessed over N'Sync or the Backstreet Boys, so this sort of waiting in line with the masses was totally foreign to me.  

And for anyone who thinks that the crazies they see on the show are hired actors, let me tell you!  They're for real!  After singing Queen with Constantine Maroulis and letting Ryan Seacrest be our cheerleader for "filler" crowd shots, the zanies came out.  There was a girl in a Supergirl outfit--glorified blue spankies and a red cape--along with a lady in little more than foil pasties.  There was also a Heath Ledger-inspired Joker, somebody in a furry fuchsia robe and matching slippers, and half a dozen other attention-getters.  Some of them are completely delusional, others are very lucid about the matter, using the publicity stunt as a way to get past the first few sets of producer-judges.

I came with no gimmicks.  Around 3:15pm, I sang "At Last."  After waiting for ten hours and singing my heart out, I listened to the two expressionless faces behind the table thank me and the three others in my group for auditioning and taking the time and yada-yada-yada.  "Unfortunately, your voices just aren't strong enough for this year's season of American Idol."  Cop-out.  I consider myself a fairly humble person, but I was unquestionably stronger than the three others I sang with.  One girl was brassy and gutsy but annoying as all get-out.  The other two were timid, quiet, and uninteresting.  I would have appreciated a simple, "thank you, but no."  To say that we, collectively, didn't have strong enough voices was a ridiculously broad statement.  

I wouldn't change anything about my performance.  I felt great about it.  And while waiting for the bus back to the city, one fellow auditioner, jovial and warm as can be, walked up to me with a great--albeit colorful--compliment: "Hey, I heard you singing at the table next to mine, and those judges are crazy.  You sang the fucking roof off of that shit!  It was awesome!"  I laughed.  "Thank you very much!  That's great to hear.  I really appreciate it."  So the guy probably isn't a vocal expert.  And his vocabulary probably made Mom blink once or twice.  But he made my day. :)  

Sometimes I wonder if God doesn't send off-color angels just to shake things up a bit and help us let down our guard.  I wouldn't be surprised if He did.

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