<i><b>THIS</b> is AMERICAN IDOL!</i>


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Idol Behind the Scenes!

DrL&K have just gotten home from the Top 8 Elimination night! Whew…a long afternoon and evening, but it was worth it! We will do our best to give you all a play-by-play as we remember it. (Idol doesn't allow cell phones in the studio, so we are relying on our memories).

Interesting tidbit!: The show is filmed at the CBS Television City studios even though it is a Fox program. This is located near The Grove in LA, off Beverly Blvd. We parked and walked over to wait in line - got there about 3pm. We waited in a long line that stretched from the "Genesee" gate. A smart street vendor sold sodas for $1 and "closed toe shoes" for $10; don't ask me why but Idol would kick you out if you wore open toe shoes (and they checked -- OFTEN).

About 4:00 we were let in the gate. We walked past the parking area for Dancing With the Stars. And we stood here for another 30 minutes or so, behind a plastic chain next to reserved parking spaces, between the bungalows and the Star Waggons (where Randy, JLo & Steven chill before the show).

First celeb sighting of the day, Bruno Tonioli from DWTS - friendly, smiling, blowing kisses to the women in the line. He needed to get to his car and walked around like he didn't know which one it was. Finally, he said "oh, you know how it goes - I get a different one every week!" This week's car was a black Mustang convertible. We also saw Carrie Ann Inaba's parking spot and if that was her car…poor thing drives a green Honda! Not quite as fancy as the Mustang.

By 4:15 or so we were in the shade beside the building.
Idol Family Sightings!
While we were waiting, we started to notice a group of people filing in from the other side of the studio. DrL recognized Casey's mom first - then realized it was the family members coming through. Casey's mom and dad seemed to be super laid back and friendly. We saw Jacob's mom (?) or family members. We saw Stefano's mom, and James' mom. She was carrying a canvas sign with James' name painted on it in "rocker" font. James' family was there too - and his little nephew - who was adorable!! The lil' dude (I'm guessing around 5 or 6 years old) had on black pants with little black vest. His hair was gelled up and he had a bandana tied around his wrist and one on his back pocket. He was carrying a sign that said 'Go Uncle James!' As he walked by us, he said to his mom "i'm so nervous!" - SOOO cute!! Those were the most recognizable family members - I feel sure we probably saw the others, but I couldn't be sure. One family I know we didn't see was Lauren Alaina's - (I was really hoping to see her mom's wacky hair-do up close….)

As 5:00 drew near we were sweating bullets -- would we make it? The PA said they would try to get us all in, if we wanted to be "seat fillers", and that this meant we might have to split up. Dr. L & I told ourselves we would if need be. The female PA said this was not a bad deal, because seat fillers were often seats of celebs who didn't show up.They started bringing us in @ 4:50 or so, and only took 1/3 of our group. We could hear the crowd inside already cheering for something. Another group went in 5 minutes later. Since we were near the end, we thought we were screwed. At literally 4:59 they ushered us in, to a dark area underneath the bleacher seats. Things were getting really loud in there. Jimmy Iovine walked in, right beside us, and disappeared into the stage area.

We could hear the countdown, and see the video from the opening of the show through cracks in the set. A stagehand took pity on us and led us to the area under/behind the stage where the post-performance "mirror confessional" happens after each Idol sings. Just to the left of this is a monitor, and we watched Ryan open the show. Scotty and Lauren sang their duet, and holy crap, Scotty's voice booms with the bass from the speakers inside. They sounded great! - but, audience applause was not quite as loud as we might have thought. Then it was time for the 1st commercial. They rushed us to one side of the stage -- then decided it would be better to go to the other.

We entered, directly beside the stage. It is much smaller than you might imagine. It was crazy with activity. We walked right past Pia Toscano, down on the front row. Mary Hart from Entertainment Tonight was there, and of course Skeletor (Marc Anthony). Dr. L spotted Chaka Khan, and later we realized Anita Baker was there as well. Wild. We had no idea where we were going - just following an usher from one side of the stage to the other! We were led up to an area just behind the cameras, a little above Ryan's teleprompter. They were EXCELLENT seats! Everybody had to look right at us for the camera to see them, so it was like they were performing just for us, ha.

We mostly saw the back of the judges' heads - but they turned around a few times to wave & smile at the crowd. JLo is stunning in person - just absolutely beautiful - (not crazy about that gold dress though). There were girls above us that were yelling constantly for Steven Tyler to turn around, and he did once, but he mostly stayed focused on the show. Randy was laughing and having a good time - he had on some electric blue shoes….interesting!
Side note, you could really see Randy and Steven snapping fingers and getting into the music. Cool.

In between segments of the show a PA gave away lots of swag. They especially treated the little kids with signs well.

The Idol hopefuls were sitting on the blue couches - restless and joking around some during the various parts of the show. In the YELLOW dress, it was easy to notice how distracted Lauren Alaina is during the whole show - she really doesn't pay much attention to everything! She sort of half-heartedly clapped along - and she seemed to really be looking around the audience a lot. (I wondered if she was trying to see who all was cheering for her!).

Haley & Casey Duet
We haven't watched the TV version yet, but this was GREAT in person! They harmonize really well. They were really having fun, and the audience loved it. Haley made less of the goofy moves - and she looked really cute in the lace dress. I think they got the largest applause of the night.

Fun medley of Simon & Garfunkel tunes! Those four sound really good together. I think the younger members of the audience didn't quite know what to do during that though…

Ms. Kelly Clarkson & Jason Aldean
I don't know who he is, and had not heard that song - but WOW!! what a great duet and I would love to get that single! Our Ms. Kelly looked fantastic and she sings just as clear as a bell - I had goosebumps!! During the break she was happy, smiling and running all over the stage in those high heels. She ran down to the judges' table and gave Randy a huge hug - it was so sweet! She had her photo taken with all three judges. Randy made a point of introducing her to them, and seemed like he didn't want her to rush off -- but the show had to go on.

What a performance! LOVED it! I didn't know that song either (California King Bed) - but it was great. The crowd was really going crazy too! Her dancers were fantastic, and she looked beautiful. After the song, she went over to the Idol hopefuls and hugged each and every one of them. She also hugged all the judges and had her picture taken with them. She seemed incredibly friendly, despite what some gossip rags say.

Other things we noticed: The main stage (manager? director?) lady was hilarious, mostly making jokes about how SLOW the judges were about getting back in their seats/getting ready for the show to start after each commercial. It really is incredible how many people flood onto then off the stage on breaks, literally to the last second.

Nigel was EVERYWHERE, running around dressed nattily, shmoozing with all the guests, the judges, the contestants. When Casey was sent back safe to the couch he fist bumped him.
When Hailey was sent to the Danger Stools, Ryan made a point of joking/consoling her as we went to commercial, like a "not again" kind of a gesture.

When it was coming down to the final segment, Paul Stefano and Hailey all made a trip over to the couch and got hugs. I don't know if what they say is true about Hailey and Casey, but I did notice her hanging around him quite a bit, more than she spent with Lauren by a long shot LOL.

When the word came down it was Paul getting the boot, it was not like any great shock to the room. A woman beside us had asked who we picked this week, and we said if it was up to us, Paul. She agreed. When his name was called, she nodded at us in a kind of knowing way.
Paul didn't seem that bummed out at the time. As they played his "Idol Journey" package, audience members screamed his name, clapped, general support. After the show ended everyone came out (judges, contestants, Nigel) and got on stage with him. The biggest hug Paul got by far came from the new band leader, Ray Chew. In fact, another member of the band spent a lot of time with Paul. It really seemed like he was well liked by the musicians on the show.

I don't know what happened to Ryan -- he got the F out of there quick-like once the cameras stopped rolling.

Then, it was over. Everyone made their way out below the stage, except the "special" people (all the celebs, the Idols, judges) who exited into a big meet & greet area on stage left. We only caught a glimpse of it, then we were back into the subterranean tunnel and onto the CBS lot.

Later, as we went back to The Grove to get some dinner before we retrieved our car, we saw James' family walking in behind us. We waited for them and told them how much we liked James, and they seemed really grateful to hear praise for him. His (brother? cousin?) made a point of showing off James' nephew, the cute kid in the rocker garb. They seemed nice.

We had so much fun!

Dr. L & K

1 comment:

Rubbertoe said...

AWESOME Review....I felt like I was right there. Sounds like you had an incredible time. I love looking for the family members in the crowd when I've been there in the past....and I love the stage manager woman...she is fun.

I think the open toes shoes thing is a safety thing, I think the insurance requires it because of all the cables and equipment.

I would have loved to have in the backstage area....

I haven't actually watched the show yet myself, I had a work thing last night and so I had to DVR it...I'm anxious to watch it now!!!!!