August 18th, 2008
So this morning I made the massive mistake of getting into a car and driving 45 minutes up the New Jersey Turnpike (which turned into about an hour and 15 minutes thanks to bearing the wrong way when the Turnpike splits up by exit 14 :|) after getting no sleep the night before. /o/
Thanks, in no little respect, to both the A/C, my normal late nights, and my habit of ranting and plotting aloud while I drive, I didn't even start to feel sleepy 'til I was actually on line at the registration for American Idol auditions.
Yes, you read that right, the reason I disappeared this morning wasn't to go to bed but, in fact, to stand on line for a little over two hours to register to audition for American Idol. :|
Why? 'Cause . . . they were held here? I mean, I say that I drove 45 minutes up the Turnpike, but it really would've been about half an hour, maybe even less, since was 6:30 on a Sunday morning, and I'm used to driving that far after four years of high school commuting half an hour up and down the Garden State Parkway. I actually went two years ago 'cause it was the first time they were being held in my area when I was actually capable of getting there on my own; only reason I didn't go last year was 'cause they didn't come here.
So yeah, drove what should have been about 45 minutes to stand in line for two hours to register for American Idol auditions which takes a little less than two minutes.
So. Two years ago, they had a note posted up on the site saying that you couldn't start to line up at the venue before 4:00 AM and that camping out was strictly prohibited and unnecessary since registration was going to be going on for three days right up to the time the auditions were supposed to start. They didn't bother mentioning the lining up rule this year just the camping rule and that registration began at 8:00 AM, but I think a lot of people did get there pretty damn early.
Apparently not a lot, though, since I got there just as they were sending the first group of people in to register and the line only spanned one and a half sides of the arena.
This was the back of the line as of about 8:30 AM.
So we followed the long along the outer walls of the arena, moving ahead jerkily but steadily since they only allow a certain amount of people in at a time to avoid overcrowding. To our left, of course, is the arena itself; to our right, a lovely view of scenic East Rutherford, NJ: Route 3, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Meadowlands massiva parking lots, Giants Stadium, and the new construction for the upcoming Xanadu stadium literally right next to Giants Stadium. Yeah, I know, not every part of New Jersey is a scenic paradise out of a postcard, but I dare you to name someplace that is that actually has people living on parts of it. :P
So anyway, as we stood on line, reporters from Fox (of course) were going through the crowd having people sing for what would, presumably, be a spot on the nightly news.
This is Joe. He knows that he probably won't get through. His only goal for the auditions is to meet everyone there. Also he was the only person in line that knew the the verses to YMCA.
People were actually a lot more insular this time than they were two years ago. I can remember that one of my favorite parts of the whole experience last year was actually standing in line and talking to everyone. I was actually surprised since you expect these types of events to have a lot of bitchy, self-important, wannabe divas, but actually most of the people on line that year were really friendly and we were starting up sing alongs and everything, it was a lot of fun.
This year people were mostly only talking to the people that they came with, so I ended up only getting to listen to other people's conversations. There were a couple of kids next to me that were pretty entertaining, but there was also a couple in back of me that spent pretty much the whole two hours fighting. Normally I could care less, but it really got to the point that I had to strategically meander through the crowd as the line moved just to get away from them they were so damn annoying. :|
So anyway, once you get to that final turn of the corner, there's a street to cross with an American Idol cameraman standing in the middle of filming people as the security guys let them across in groups. This isn't anything really new, there were a couple of video cameras and a bunch of still cameras wandering the crowd all the way to the back of it.
At that point you get sent on up the handicapped ramp towards the entrance to Gate A.
The brand new IZOD Center. Formerly known as the Continental Airlines Arena.
The light at the end of the tunnel: GATE A!
Finally, they funnel you through a makeshift gate, only letting around fifty people in at a time (at this point, it starts to feel kind of like the bumper cars line at a carnival). You may notice, before you actually go through the doors, that are two signs up on either side of the row of doors (which I couldn't take a picture of).
The general idea of what they say is, "You are at an event for the television program, American Idol. By being on the premises you are agreeing to waive all rights to personal privacy while in attendance. If you do not wish to shown in the various media these images will be shown on, stay out of range of the cameras milling around."
Please note: Walking up to the doors is the first time you see these signs. After walking through the doors, you don't see the cameras again.
Once inside, you're directed to a long row of tables set up in the ringed hallway surrounding the arena itself (which, during events, is chock-full of vendors, even during the auditions, thank God for commercialism /o/). You show the person at the table you end up at your ID proving you're 16+ and, if you have a guest (which you need if you're under 18, of course) then they show theirs proving that they're 18+ (minors aren't permitted to be guests since they are't allowed onto the arena floor during the actual auditions and will be, therefore, unattended in the stands while they wait to see if the auditioner got through to the next round and then on their way to meet them at the appropriate gate which is different depending on if they got through or not). You're then given a ticket, which pretty much only determines how long you're going to be sitting in stands on audition day before you actually get to audition. You get two sheets of paper detailing things you need to know for audition day (time to get there, what not to wear, what you can/can't bring, what songs to learn for the "crowd song," what to be prepared for for the actual audition, and what you absolutely need to bring with you. Finally, you get one of those flimsy little paper bracelets stuck on you and told you can't take it off/get it wet until audition day (at which point it will be cut off if you don't make it through the first round). Which is two days away.
And they do, in fact, check the bracelets for tampering before they let you down on the floor. They have to check them anyway since the auditioners are given a different color bracelet from the guests and, like I said, the guests aren't allowed down on the floor.
So yeah, all I have to do now is learn the lyrics to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Get Ready" (the crowd song was only one song last year o.O) and make sure nothing happens to my flimsy little bracelet 'til Tuesday. /o/
You know, you just gave me a reason to watch that damned thing. XD
Well we have to get through three auditions before the one they actual televise. |D
Well, keep us updated then!