Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Okay Lil Tasters, here is a recap of our trip to the Idol Season Ten Finale Performance Night:
We had never been to the Nokia before, but we were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to park (if you aren't from LA this might not seem like a big deal). It was a pretty daunting line to get in, stretched WAY around the corner, and we were there early. We parked at the L.A. Convention Center deck @ 1pm, the show starts @ 5pm PST.
We entered the line behind a nice family, a woman and her three daughters. They had signs for both Lauren and Scotty: "Scotty is a Hottie" might not be so original but "Lauren is Roarin'" cracked us up. An anorexic blonde PA with a headset gave us the standard speech that "you might not make it in" but we assured the worried girls this is what they always say. You get a pass, but it's first-come, first serve. As an hour passed, some stragglers DID get the heave-ho and they walked by us, pissed. Early bird gets the worm, ladies.
The line crept around beside the Staples Center. A group of energetic teens were all gathered on the L.A. Convention Center steps -- we realized they were the "Pit" people( and later on, we pitied them for having to be on their feet THE ENTIRE FREAKIN' show).
Here we learned the Nokia Finale is much better than the usual CBS lot Idol scene: once we passed a certain checkpoint, we were given tickets with assigned seats, so we could leave to do whatever we wanted until showtime.
We walked over to the YardHouse and got a Hefeweisen and some avocado chicken while we waited. Yum.
When it got closer to 3:30, when the Nokia opened up, we walked into the courtyard next to it. Thousands of Idol fans were milling around. Tents were set up for interviews with past & present Idols and Judges: we saw Kimberly Caldwell, Didi Benami, and I swear I saw Elliot Yamin.
Dr. L saw one of her students with her mom, and we chatted with them as we got into line for the Nokia. They had bumped into Jason Castro earlier. We were at a point in the line where people passing crossed either right in front of or behind us. Who should pass (literally brushing by us) but Lauren Alaina's mom! She smiled and said hello as we recognized her. Dr. L commented on how much her hair looked like her sister's -- we'll call the cut the "pookie" style LOL. She also had a GIANT purple spangly purse that said "LAUREN", ha. More on this brief encounter later.
So we entered the Nokia. Very efficient crowd control. We never take our phones because they take them away from 99% of the audience -- but we can say inside we saw some BOLD peeps videotaping the entire show. We just leave the phones in the car, so we breeze past Security. Makes the exit lighting fast, too.
Dr. L decided we should get some Idol Swag. We noticed there was not an enormous amount of traffic at the booths. T-shirts, $20-25, much better than Charlie Sheen's Torpedo Tour. We got an Idol coffee mug, $10 :)
We made our way to our seats just after 4pm. in the Mezzanine, which we learned is actually closer than some floor seats even though it is higher. Great view. The crowd took all of the way to 5pm to fill in. LOTS of teen and tween girls, which is what the Idol Voting Bloc is supposed to be comprised of, mainly. As Corey, the warm-up guy got the crowd going, we realized: many, if not most of these girls, were here as fans of LAUREN. We were surprised. Even the girls we met in line brought signs for both but only cheered for Lauren. Hmmm.
Corey was really funny, hauling audience members up and having them shake their booty like fools. We thought we saw Nigel, but it was actually a Mystery Man In A White Suit, as we later saw Nigel wearing a silver suit talking with the judges. Whoever this Mystery Guy was, many people from the show and crowd wanted to talk with him. (Simon Fuller? Pat Boone?)
As 5pm neared, Corey's shtick got interrupted by wild applause as the castoff Idols (looked like everyone from the Tour) entered. Holy shit, Stefano is a ham, he was waving his arms like he was signaling a passing plane from a desert island. Corey named them all off, and Paul was last; Rubbertoe, we thought of you.
We also saw Lauren's mom again, hugging people, be-bopping around on the front row.
Interesting note: Corey had us practice a part of a song for Scotty: the part of his 1st song where he says "bang-bang". They even flashed it on the screen so we could get it perfect. I wonder if this seemed spontaneous on the actual show, or if you could even tell. Nothing like this for any Lauren song....Then Debbie the Stage Manager started counting down, and the Show was On!
Seacrest came out, and it was as you saw at home. Since we had been in line since 1pm, we had no idea about the DRAMA with Lauren Alaina's voice. As they talked with the Doctor, Dr. L and I said this seemed like some bullshit. A sympathy ploy? (Note: they should have given her drugs all season if she would belt out the songs like this.)
A commercial break. Scotty seems low-key. I thought about my theory that Idol sticks the contestant they want booted in the most casual garb -- Scotty fits the bill in the intro, but then whips on what appears to be a standard Idol gray leather jacket for the song.
During all these breaks, Randy usually sits like a bump on a log, JLo kicks to the side and 2-3 people work on her hair and makeup, and Steven stands up, walks around, a girl pats his nose and women in the crowd scream his name (in fairness, they scream JLo's, too). Corey gives out prizes, mostly to kids, like posters and shirts.
Then BAM they were into the 1st song with Scotty. We did our little "bang-bang" part. It was okay, but we've heard him sing before and this was not his best. Nerves? He didn't look into it, especially when the cameras weren't rolling. Seacrest puts his arm around his shoulder. No judging. Another commercial. We started to realize, "they're hauling ass, must only be an hour". Nigel sighting.
We're back. Lauren Elaina sings. And we realize the tone of the night is set: not only does she NOT sound like her voice is impaired, she sounds more powerful than usual. More production value on her clothes/graphics/backup musicians. We were sitting towards the back but you could hear her loud and clear. At first we thought she was just "bringing it" more than Scotty, which was partly true-- but it was a little "augmented" on Idol's end, too.
After Lauren sang, and there was a commercial, this time Nigel spent time at the judges' table and he gave them a little speech, complete with hand gestures. I forgot to mention that, just before the show went live, a PA carefully sat out sheets of paper at every judges place on the table. Instructions, or script even, from Nigel?
In our opinion, in the room, the only halfway decent performance (sound quality mainly) from Scotty was his second song. But there was no comparison to how Lauren sounded. I can't wait to see how it sounds on TV.
The main thing we took away from Taio Cruz singing in the middle of the program was, Thank God we weren't at eye level, because those muthafucking lasers were BRIGHT. Jesus H Christ, I am not exaggerating, they were like green Death Beams shooting below us. The song sounded like Robot Pop, entertaining in a synthetic way, but instantly forgettable.
Scotty and Lauren sang their last songs. Up until then, the mood in the room was, Scotty could still win it. Then, Lauren sang the freakin' Mother song, hugged her, etc. and Dr. L & I looked at each other and said, "it's over." Then, of course, the judges creamed all over themselves about it, and JLo had the balls of Titanium (for the 2nd week in a row) to basically proclaim Lauren the winner. We knew the fix was in, at least Idol had tipped its hand, anyway. Maybe America has different plans, but Nigel & Co. sure made it clear they want Lauren to win.
(For the conspiracy theorists, when we saw Lauren's mom before the show, she sure as hell didn't seem like someone whose daughter had any chance of blowing it so close to the finish. In fact, she seemed incredibly relaxed and happy -- I don't know if I would if my daughter had just blown out a vocal cord, Idol Finale or not.)
So, David Cook came out and sang the Season Ten Exit Song. Man, was he awesome in person! We rocked out and --No wait, actually, the stage went black and a freaking VIDEO of David Cook played, pre-recorded from earlier. Did it look on TV like he was there? Psych! We had started to clap and get excited, I think the crowd was pretty disappointed. The judges got the F out, never to return. So, Ryan came back out and said, if you haven't voted all season, now's the time. Lauren hugged Scotty, then the two of them stepped to the side of the stage for what looked like some additional video that maybe will air tomorrow night? As we filed out, we heard several audience members saying how "beautiful" Lauren's voice was, so "powerful", etc. If it was up to the Mezzanine, she had already won.
It was a lot of fun, even though we weren't super thrilled by either contestant going in. A woman behind us had a sign that said "Bring Back James!" I forgot to mention that before the show, out front of the Nokia, we saw the guy from Hollywood Week, the tall black fellow who was in the group with Scotty that kicked the chubby kid out (the super conceited guy, can't remember his name). I wondered, if many of us viewers are a little bumfuzzled by this matchup of Scotty and Lauren in the finale, what about the actual contestants who busted ass round after round, only to be eliminated? From the thousands, down to the hundreds, then down to the Top 13? I'm guessing there was easily 10-20 that could have made this a more dynamic finale. But, hey, this is the one we got, and the one Dr. L & I saw. From where we sat, Lauren Alaina plain outsung old Scotty on the last night. We'll see what America thought!
Posted by DrL/K at 12:44 AM