It was a very cool experience. Didn't turn out exactly the way I'd hoped, but still I'm really glad that I did it. There were 6,000 people there for the auditions. It was a looooooong day.
We got up at my parents house around 4am to get the 4:45 train into Chicago. We got into the city about 6am and made our way to the United Center by 6:15. The line was already pretty long- some of the people we talked to had been there since 3am. We wanted to be there early, but the tickets we got when I registered had seat numbers. Getting there earlier wouldn't have gotten us ahead in the audition line.
We waited outside until about 8:30. They started letting people in around 8, and it just took a little time for them to get to our area in the parking lot. Once we got in we made our way to our seats. That's when they do all the camera shots of the crowd and people yelling "I'm the next American Idol!" and the group singing. It took us probably an hour or so to get all the shots they needed.
The producers then gave us our instructions, where to go in line, how to stand, where to go after they've told us if we made it through or not. Then the first round of auditions began. In groups of 4, people auditioned for a table of two producer-judges. There were 12 tables set up across the arena floor. Each person in the group goes up and sings, and then steps back to let the next person go. There's no chatting or introducing yourself. THe producer-judge waves you forward, you sing, and then they stop you when they've heard enough and motion the next person forward. It goes by really fast. But it still took almost 3 hours to get through all the people in line ahead of us.
I was a little nervous and tried to convince Drew that we should just go home, but he convinced me stay. Mostly because he didn't want to think that we woke up at 4am for no reason at all. Pretty good point.
There were a bunch of people in crazy outifts or costumes. One girl in line with us outside was in a hot dog suit, there was a gut dressed in a platinum blond wig and hot pink workout pants with black stillettos and a black cowboy hat, a couple of girls dressed like pageant queens, and one girl in the group of four I sang with dresed like a pregnant bride.
So I finally get up to the table. I hand in my release form, they take my ticket and it dawns on me that I'm actually doing this. It was a lot of fun. I sang for the judge, who actually smiled at me, which I don't think they're supposed to do. After everyone in the group sang, he and another judge deliberated for a minute, a few gestures were made in my direction, which totally got my hopes up. And then they told us the results of our little group of four.
The only one who made it through to the next round was the girl in the pregnant bride costume. I was a little disappointed, but at least I can say that I did it. It really was an awesome experience.
It was a huge step outside my comfort zone- I'm really not a risk taker at all. But it was a totally unique thing to do, and I got some great pictures out of it.