Here's a play-by-play of our trip to the Idol Results Show tonight:
We parked at The Grove, which I highly recommend if you come see Idol. It's easy in and out and around the corner to the CBS lot on Beverly. There you begin your wait in the sun LOL. Bring some drinks and snacks, unless you want to buy them off the street vendors who are making a killing off the Idol line every week. The ticket says arrive at 3PM for the 5PM show, but unless you get there early (we got there around 1PM) you won't get in.
You stand in line until roughly 3:30-4PM. The Idol PAs come by and verify your ticket and how far you are in the line -- we were about 50 people back. Depending on the "VIPs" that show up, you may or may not get in. They threatened us with that possibility, since tonight two busloads of FOX interns AND high school students came in ahead of us. So all our tickets were relegated to "seat filler" status, even though on a normal day we'd have gotten in no problem. But we knew, at 50 back, we would get in. 200 back, you never know.
So eventually we were herded into the lot, they took away our phones but we got to sit next to the studio in the shade. We saw Will.I.Am's dancers come by as we waited, as well as Candice and Amber's family. Little did we know Will.I.Am was leaving as we arrived! More on that later.
So about five minutes until 5PM we got called in, the first group. When you're a seat filler, you usually get pretty good seats, even though it's a gamble if you'll get in at all. We were stage right, one row up from the first tier rail. It's always funny to see the Idol stage in person, it's so much smaller than you would imagine. There was a layer of mist pumped over the stage so the lights would look good. On TV you might not even notice it, but it's like a light smog LOL.
The guy working the crowd was pretty funny. After he got us on our feet, practice clapping and shouting, we learned that Will.I.Am would be performing, as well as David Cook and last night's mentor, Harry Connick Jr. Sounded pretty good to us! We saw Nigel wandering about, with about four or five massive bodyguards for him, and I assume, the judges. They were just behind the judges table.
Then the show began. The video segments you see on TV are displayed on the big oval screen in the back of the Idol stage. Then Ryan, Mariah, Randy, Nikki and Keith came out. Dr. L laughed that Mariah sashayed any time she walked, and never quickly. She's on these massive heels, it's funny. The sound was really weird tonight, all the speaking mics were very low. But the music sounded great.
The first number was a Great Gatsby production with all the remaining girls and some dancers. Watching it back at home, it actually sounded better in the room. When they cut to the Summer Tour video, everyone stayed on stage chatting, and the techs swooped in to start cleaning up, applying fresh makeup, etc. It was funny how many guys spent the whole break sweeping.
The girls assembled on the sofa of Doom, and I was struck by how much they seemed to really like and support each other. In particular, one PA brought out some jewelry, and started to put a necklace on Angie, but she hopped up and put it on Kree, herself. It just seemed like a friendly gesture we have not seen on other Idol seasons. There was no "clique", no two or three girls that huddled away from another, and it was that way all night. Handholding, pats on knees, words of encouragement.
The judges, on the other hand, spent time chatting amongst Mariah, Randy, and Keith, but almost none of them spoke to Nikki. The tween girls in the pit area LOVED Nikki, and screamed her name on every break. Others in our side of the crowd yelled at Mariah mostly, but also had love for the Dawg. Keith got up every single break and talked to people in the crowd. Mariah didn't get up often, but she turned around FAR more than JLo ever did, and waved, smiled, blew kisses, took pictures of fans. It seemed genuine, and I was pleasantly surprised.
Then we were back. Side note: it used to just be Ryan that has a teleprompter, but now EVERY SINGLE CAMERA that is on stage has words on it. I could see lyrics on the camera that the Idols sang into. It was bizarre.
So Ryan shows the Ford video. As it played he turned to a stagehand, who said "five minutes", and Ryan ran backstage, and techs and PAs flitted about. They all scurried back just in time. When Ryan led in the Jimmy/recap segment, it was interesting, Candice spent the whole time looking back at her family.
As the clips played, the Idols would laugh, or squeeze each other's arms, or pat their shoulder, etc. Lots of support. When they cut to the next break, the stagehands, techs, PAs ran onto the stage and set up Cookie's band equipment in a frenzy. It was pretty impressive. If you see the show, and consider how big his band, and then Ray Chew/Connick's band is later, it was impressive how fast they could get set up and disappear by the next break.
When they came back, Cook watched himself onscreen and it took me a second to realize it was him. He's got some new pseudo Rockabilly up-do that looks a bit different. He played his new song, and it sounded great! Side note: it's fun to watch Keith during all these music numbers, he gets into it LOL. Head bobbing, shoulders popping back and forth. He's a very supportive musician. Ryan had a chat with Cookie and then we cut to break.
On this break, Cook talked to Randy, Keith and Mariah, and a few fans. During this time it took a while to clean up the stage, and the Stage Manager (can't recall her name but she's been there for years) got us to clap for them, they really were busting ass. It took so long that when we came back from break, the camera was on Ryan facing towards the crowd, and he introduced "Will.I.Am", though there was still some band shit onstage! No musicians…
They of course cut to a VIDEO of Will.I.Am, which we learned had been recorded just before we all came in. I guess it was such a massive undertaking there was no way to do it live. But since I think Will.I.Am kind of sucks, it was OK with me. If you watch the show, there's a quick shot at the end and there are people in the crowd, but no judges, and the room's only about half full. The Magic of Television LOL.
The stagehands etc. swoop in and assemble a big-ass band setup for Connick.
It's kind of funny, but the girls have been sitting on that sofa for a LONG time now. Side note: Nikki brushes her hair a LOT. any time the camera isn't rolling. I swear that can't be her real hair, right?
One of Connick's pianos broke the stage! It fell through the floor. They fixed it, but there was a moment of wtf in the room.
We come back live to Ryan with a group of giddy teen girls talking about some Idol Fun Pack bullshit. The response in the room was tepid, but the girls were very stoked to be onstage, and Ryan was sweet with them before and after. Then Harry Connick sings. It's really a good performance, kind of restrained, but very smooth. The crowd dug him. His guitar player was fantastic. After the song, and the usual Gay Panic joke from Ryan, we cut to commercial.
The stagehands swooped in, cleaned up. Harry spoke to everyone, but did not linger like Cookie did. Spent more time with Keith than anyone. Everyone showed a lot of respect for the older black gentleman who played guitar for Connick, and spoke with him and shook his hand. Ryan came over, and for the only time of the night, spoke briefly, but intently, with Nikki. Why, you ask?…
When we came back live, Ryan is talking to the Idols. It's Results time! He throws over to Nikki, and then it became clear why he spoke with her on the break: he set her up to have something to say here.
And the Result lighting kicks in. Boy, it gets freaking dark when Kieran dims the lights. Angie is safe, then Candice. Ryan cuts to the inevitable tension-building commercial. Then EVERYONE comes up onstage, one at a time. The girls all huddle up at the "three lucky stools" area. Randy, Nikki, Keith, Nigel, they all talk to them. Mariah sashays over, and I swear, it looked like she wasn't going to make it back to the judges table in time, she moves so SLOW! But when we came back from the break, you'd swear no one had moved.
They drop the bomb on Amber. It hits Candice so hard she sort of stumbles over to hug her, too soon. It hits Amber as she's watching her "journey" onscreen. She pulls it together to sing, and actually does all right considering. As she's singing, Ryan drags her dad out of the crowd. Amber loses it. Everyone is pretty emotional. The end credits music plays, and the Crowd Guy asks us all to sit silently.
It's kind of awkward, but we all just look on as the cameramen, the judges, the family members all pile onto the stage and shoot the footage you'll see next week when they talk about Amber leaving. Everyone tries to console Amber, but damn, she's heartbroken. She really takes it hard. After a few minutes, we start to file out.
Now it's time to head to the cell phone pickup line. We walked out with Candice's family, and saw Angie's mom. She was literally right next to us. A funny moment: a little girl who had just picked up her phone wanted a picture with Angie's mom, and she said "sure honey, take it quick before CBS sees you!" She took the pic, and sure enough, a hard-ass CBS security guy walked over and barked "no pictures on the CBS lot!" It was kind of hilarious.
We walked back to the Grove and had dinner at La Piazza -- yum! Then picked up our car. Note: if you eat at the Grove and get your ticket validated, it saves you $6 on parking for Idol! It was well worth it.
We had a good time! Looking forward to next week.
Dr. L and K out!