Let’s wait some more, shall we? And practice clapping above the head.
And the saga continues as we enter in the studio. All I can think about is how to sneak my Blackberry in and how much they will frisk you. I could probably get it in without violating myself, right? Can’t be THAT difficult.
They tell us if we wamt to go to the bathroom, we have to go now. So while everyone else goes through one of two metal detectors and phones/cameras are checked, those who want to make sure they don’t have to pee during the show can go into these deluxe port-a-potties called Star Toilets (in Star Wars-esque font) or something. I took a photo inside only because I knew I would be parted with my camera and this saddened me.
So I pee, take a quick photo of the Deluxe Johnny-on-the-Spot’s interior. I also try sticking my Blackberry in the center of my pants because I was wearing a large belt. Of course, I totally chicken out on this shit when going through security. Who the hell doesn’t have a phone? And hey, I am a nice, “law-abiding” citizen when it comes down to it.
They take my camera and my phone, but give me my bag. I am probably one of the few people with a bag. There was no frisking.These other suckers come PREPARED with only a wristlet or by stuffing their pockets. I go and find my awesome crew of Erika, Christina and Julie on the benches. They make room for me. At this point, I was totally touched they had not ditched me. They didn’t know me. There was no reason they had to be so damn nice. Most people on this planet suck.
We are sitting on one of four or so benches, facing the Tier 2 Good Looking Youth Group. It turns out, they’re a high school group and this was part of their “planned activities” while in the Los Angeles area. Their teacher tells me this, who pretty much barely looks as if he can drink. He says they are from Atlanta. The only thing I ever have to say about Atlanta is how much I loathe the airport, how it is one of the most miserable places in the world, especially when you’ve been stuck there overnight due to AirTran’s ineptitude. He hates the Atlanta airport, too. I still can’t believe he’s these kids’ teachers, especially since there were maybe two girls who looked as if they were old enough to lie to homely freshman during sorority rush.
Some other young kids then line up, standing in between our two benches. I would venture they were no older than 14 or 15, max. They were wearing those clothes girls that age consider cute, but life skills have yet to give them clear personal style. There is always something slightly off about the lipstick or the ruffled mini. The tallest one speaks in distinct Valley contemporary.
I cannot wait until I marry Adam Lambert.
Silly kid. It makes me momentarily thankful for my mother. If I were a kid and said I was going to marry Adam Lambert, she would say something like, well, when you were 3 you wanted to change your name to Keith so I always prepared myself for the day you would announce you were getting an operation. When we open the door with such statements in my family, that’s just what you’re gonna get. But mainly its because we don’t bullshit or sugarcoat. For instance, at age 6 or 7, I was reading the paper and saw the Circus was coming…with a real-life UNICORN. I did not see how this was possible.
Little Me: I thought unicorns weren’t real. Why does the circus have one?
My Mom: Of course there are no unicorns. That’s a goat with a horn sewn on his head. I wouldn’t pay to see that crap. I feel sorry for that poor goat.
And to this day, I have never gone to the Circus, nor have I had any desire to go. (I have been to a few Cirque de Soleils, but those productions don’t hurt sweet little goats and hey, they provide an alternate career option for all those young Chinese girls who were deemed unfit by the state for Gymnastics and Diving.)
I continue to look around. I chat with Erika, who tells me how I am so lucky to be wearing jeans and Chucks. And how they would have done the same had they not thought they had to dress up, as per the instructions given on the ticket email. We laughed at the girls in front of us standing barefoot because they had taken off their heels. My girls were wearing flats because they knew what they were getting into after going to a taping of Dancing With The Stars, which basically require nice dress and heels. Ah, yes, because that shit show is technically a ballroom dancing competition, I realize. Hey, I had never thought about it before. The only thing I know about that show is that it sucks, the music used is horrendous, everyone gets injured and the Awesome Woz was cut awhile ago.
A few rows back, I spot a familiar face. Of course, I wonder if all of these women look so much alike because I have seen so many photos of crazy Idol fans, but this lady stands out — and not just because she is wearing a denim jacket emblazoned with what appear to be the signatures of about 40-50 Idol contestants. And her face is sooo familiar. It suddenly clicks! It is the American Idol Ministries chick! And even after checking out her blog again, I am still oh, 98% positive it was Leesa Bellesi.
Hard-Working Production Assistant starts talking to us. She tells us it will only be 10 or so more minutes. She begins to give us instructions. I can already tell this girl does her job well, as she doesn’t talk to the crowd as if she’s an OMG AMERICAN IDOL PA.
We are told the rehearsal is really important and often more fun than the taping, Hard Working PA prefers the more casual and relaxed vibe. She says it is crucial we go in with high energy and cheer a lot because it is imperative to build the contestants’ confidence before the show. She informs us most of us will be in the “pit” and that you will see some of our backs during the end-of-the-show performance recaps (those are always recorded at the rehearsals).
People start cheering, I think there was a little Adam chanting, but it was short. However, the crowd becomes much more animated and the excited chatter is everywhere around us.
A few minutes later, we are led by rows into the studio. On the way in, I walk past a woman holding a few of fliers for Kingdom Assignment, pretty much confirming for me the woman I did see what the AI Ministries chick. I realize I’ve seen several instances of Jesusocity in such a short time for being nowhere near a church.
The girls and I marvel at how everything looks as if it could just fall at any moment as we walk towards the stage, which I have already heard is SUPER TINY. At the door, we have our first encounter with who will herein be known as Self-Important Bitch Production Assistant. She is young, with long brown hair. You can tell she thinks she is really cute, yet in reality, she’s nothing special. And its evident she has a total sense of entitlement from the time I near the entry and she is delegating who goes in the pit and who gets the seat. The senior citizen and her daughter are, obviously, sent to the seats.
I’m really hoping myself and the awesome crew who let me join them this afternoon pass muster for the pit because frankly, I really need to see the nonsense which ensues in the land of swaybots and sorority girls. Self-Important Bitch PA thinks she is awesome as she helps deem people worthy, sending some to a couple of PAs waiting at the seats and leading others to the pit, even if it only for the dress rehearsal. Luckily, myself and my three new BFFs pass muster and all I can wonder is if I will be forced to sway, or if my energy won’t be enough and I’ll be moved to the upper decks. It is at this point I start thinking about how this may be one of those things that just work better with alcohol, because I just don’t whoop or sway on command on a day-to-day basis.
Of course, they still have to arrange us ever so perfectly in the pit. We’re on the right side and they stick some more of the high school kids around us, including about 2-3 skinny, khaki-clad “All-American” teenage boys to border the edge we are on. And with that description, you can probably already figure out everything you need to know about them, as well as have the ability to map out the entire rest of their lives.
We’re right by the judges’ table and this is exactly where Self-Important Bitch PA plops her sorry semi-plump ass. She sways back, shifting the weight between right and left foot casually and occasionally fidgets with her headset under the pretense of working, which, oh, the last time I checked, didn’t involve chatting it up with three almost-frat boys.
Debbie the Stage Manager emerges, donning a brown houndstooth tam woven with the slightest of Lurex threads. It almost glitters when the light catches it, yet isn’t exactly over-the-top by any stretch. However, I would consider it ridiculous on anybody else but this petite, energetic woman. Debbie the Stage Manager greets the crowd with instructions on when Ryan is going to come out and what is going to go down. She makes some jokes. She instructs us how to clap (over our heads) and how we will have to be patient because they also shoot some extraneous closeups and such to be used in both the live show and the following evening’s recap.
Debbite the Stage Manager is a fraking goddess. I decided upon this last year but now, after seeing her in person, I know this to be true. I was totally tempted to just say frak it and go tell Debbie the Stage Manager how much I love her. I really hope she Googles herself and stumbles upon my blog because Debbie, if you do, I totally love you. You run that shit show. You ARE American Idol. And as Stage Manager, I assume you decide who and who cannot be a PA, right? Because you really need to ditch the self-important twat who did NOTHING but flirt with the teenage douchebags in my section.
Why do I hate this bitch so much? Oh, because…hmmm…let’s see, well, I’ll get to the main reasons on why this idiot should totally get her walking papers. She stood around and did nothing but talk. And mostly, she talked about herself. She was also completely unaware of what she was doing because yes, while I know everyone is supposed to be nubile, uber-young and beautiful if there is any chance of them being in a shot, you do not stick the pleasant girl who is barely 5-feet behind two 6-foot douchebags just so you can flirt with them.
Yeah, I’m talking about Julie, one of my awesome new BFFs. Poor girl couldn’t see SHIT because the obnoxious douchebags were oblivious to there being anyone behind them and all they cared to do was talk to Self-Important PA bitch who it turns out, is only NINETEEN YEARS OLD. Of course, the teenaged douchenozzles probably felt pretty self important at this point, too, considering they were all funnelled out of white SUVs about one hour beforehand. (And Self-Important PA Bitch was so unaware of her surroundings and her career responsibilities that she did not notice that oh, maybe this short girl should be in front of the tall douchebag so she can oh, I don’t know, see the fraking rehearsal?) Wow. I thought those PA jobs were of the thankless-yet-utimately-rewarding variety which recent graduates angling for a career behind-the-scenes in the film/TV industry fought tooth and nail for?
Yet, Self-Important PA Bitch is only 19! And how did she get that job? Oh, well she was happy to tell her attentive douchebags that SHE “got the job because her father is a wardrober”.
One of the girls in my group heard this nonsense. Because Self-Important PA Bitch loved to stand around and talk about herself rather than oh, um, do her job. This went on for a long while. I kept wondering why she was flirting with high-school aged boys before finding out she was 19, but that’s just as bad. When you’re 19, you should really only flirt with guys who are 21. Alas, in Hollywood, I guess drinking age really doesn’t matter, just as being qualified for a job when your daddy has connections isn’t really a necessity, either.
We kept waiting and waiting, examaning the people around us and most of all, the studio. People keep filiing in, including a school group that came with their own snacks. Children can eat, but no one else can, but I guess that makes sense, since I’m down with anything which will keep kids quiet. I think Self-Important PA Bitch may have even pretended to work for about 30 seconds while holding onto a disposable cup for people’s gum, but it could have easily been someone else.
I notice Semifinalist Alex Wagner-Trugman is in the audience. Remember him? I loved that kid! I totally wanted to go up to him but didn’t, mainly because I didn’t want to be kicked out of the pit and hell, I don’t know how they do things at this shit show. It’s a good thing I slapped on some Bare Minerals because for all I knew, that tiny pimple I was rocking on my left cheek could have relegated me to the back row. The kiddie school group eating individual bags of Sun Chips recognize Alex, too. And he came over and signed things for them (They had already met all the contestants, too, judging by the Sharpied Group Photo each one carried in.) and this made me smile, just because I liked Alex Wagner-Trugman and I’m glad others remembered him.
The studio, as I mentioned is TINY. Like that “giant” video screen is nothing. The judges’ table is the length of my loveseat and the stage is small. Instantly, I remember that dark night when Gokey did some pelvic thrusting and totally shuddered, imagining what that shit looked like standing from where I was. Yikes! But the best part about the studio, in my eyes, were the gyroscopes on each side of the stage. Those things SQUEEK. Once they’re turned on, for about 10-15 minutes all you hear is SQUEEK……SQUEEK……SQUEEK…..SQUEEK. It’s like Chinese Water Torture, but scary on a different level because , for a moment, you wonder how that shit would hold up in an earthquake.
Somewhere in the midst of all this bizareness, in between being told how to clap and observing the Self-Important Bitch PA and the Teenage Douchebag Dudes, four mom types are positioned next to me in the pit. They’re not unattractive, per se, but they’re moms. Like, I wouldn’t put any of them past their early 40s, max, but you could clearly tell they were Moms…and huge Idol fans. Because basically, at this point, I can sense these things and maybe it was because they seemed to have the intensity of four woman going to watch American Idol who did not just happen to stumble upon some free passes by signing up two years before (as Erika had done).
One of them tosses an empty box of Mentos on the floor. I see it and yes, I totally wondered why the hell they would do something like that. Even if American Idol is a shit show, I’m not gonna litter on their goddamn setup. This actually caught the eye of Self-Important PA Bitch, probably only because she was mid-sentence and in mid-sway, and was flipping in her hair in such a manner to cause her attention to be diverted from the American Eagle-clad Douchebags.
Hey. Did you just drop that? You can’t do that here.
One of the Mom Crew responds.
Sorry. We just didn’t have anywhere to go with it.
Self-Important PA Bitch is already bored with the exchange but clearly got a rush out of exercising her power in front of her adoring pubescent male audience.
Well, you need to do something with it.
Because when it comes down to it, I’m just a nice person. I mean, I try not to be, and it can be so unfortunate at times, but oh well. Plus, I’ve already sized these women up and decide they’re definitely a group I need to converse with in my ongoing, informal research into the Idol Fan Psyche.
I pipe in, even though Self-Important PA Bitch has already moved on about 10 seconds later and is once again casually playing with her hair and earpiece mic while flirting with her Doucheteen admirers.
Hey, I’ll just put it in my bag. Don’t worry about it.
And that is how I come to meet the next random people on this never-ending adventure. The Four Moms (including one self-proclaimed Cougar) thank me for taking their empty Mentos box and I decide to make small talk.
About the same time as I start in with my now-standardized who do you want to win question, Debbie the Stage Manager graces us with her goddessness and announces that in two minutes, Ryan Seacrest will be on stage! And all of the sudden, Fake Randy and Fake Simon take their seats!
Fake Randy is just a bald black dude with wacky glasses — smallish, perfectly circular translucent yellow frames to be exact. His black shirt has something emblazoned in white rhinestones. And when he takes his seat, he starts pointing at people in my section while flashing a big smile and saying:
Hey dawg! What’s up, dawg?
I totally started clapping. And I think I pointed back and him and whooped. Actually, it was a reserved cry of, YES! But you know, close enough.
Ok. I know I said this would be a two-parter, but I have a tendency to get carried away with detail at times. Excuse me all to hell. This is gonna be a goddamn TRILOGY. And I promise part 3 is gonna be like, The Bourne Ultimatum of I-Went-To-American-Idol recaps.