Today's entry is by a guest blogger, Nicole Siscaretti, who recently auditioned and made it onto the American Idol Experience show. She's took the time to write about her experience and share it with all of us. Thanks Nicole!
I scurried up to the gate with my friends Chris and Megan. This was my first rope drop at Disney's Hollywood Studios and we knew what attraction we were ready to run for. As we shimmied through the turn-styles and headed to wait on Hollywood Boulevard for the park to open, our focus was stolen by a sign on the left. The ever popular American Idol symbol stood printed on a screen taller than me. Cast members stood there recruiting singers to audition so we headed there to chat with them. We didn't realize sharing our wish to audition would get us through the crowd and headed to the American Idol Experience before the park even opened, that was an added bonus.
The joyful, stylishly dressed cast member walked us to the door and wished us luck. If you are a fan of the American Idol show then this next part is a truly delightful. The interior of the building where you audition is adorned with pictures of past Idol winners and themed in Coca Cola reds and American Idol blues with shiny silver accents. They showed us a video of Ryan Seacrest who welcomed us in. Then Chris and I chose to sing for the first producer together. We walked into the room and were greeted by a familiar face as we had both auditioned before. The nice lady sat behind a desk in the small room and took notes about me as I stood before her to sing. For this round you are asked to do 30 seconds of a song a cappella so I went with an old favorite and rifftastically sang Alicia Keys "If I Aint Got You." This was good enough to get me to the next round! The producer then gave me a few song suggestions to sing in the next round. I had gotten to this point before but decided to quit because of the amount of time it would take to complete the experience. However, this day all plans were set aside to allow me to be the next American Idol...or at least pretend that's what was going to happen.
At this point we were led to the "Red Room" where everything was red and Coca Cola themed. There were many iPods scattered around comfy chairs, filled with all the song choices you could pick to sing for the next producer. We were given time to listen and practice. I worked on "Life Is A Highway" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" thinking they would compliment my soulful voice. After a little while we were summoned.
Round two! Into another room we went, this one even more jazzed up. Chris and I decided to go in together again and Megan came in to support us. She auditioned as well but didn't make it to this round because they said she was too "broadway", not pop style. The producer behind the desk shook my hand and talked to me about my life a little bit as I was the first to sing for him. Then the large t.v screen behind his desk lit up with the words to a song I chose, karaoke style. A booming surround sound system filled the room with music and a video camera in the corner recorded my performance for the producer to watch on his computer screen. He disliked both of my choices but applauded my being brave and choosing a song I didn't know. He then recommended I sing a few other songs. We toyed around with which ones I knew and liked and decided that "No One" by Alicia Keys was the song for me after I sang a few others. This was a really fun part of the process for me because it was like personal karaoke in a fabulously decorated room with sound that would make Bose jealous. He pushed a button and BAM, there was Ryan Seacrest congratulating me on the t.v. again. Doesn't that guy have anything better to do?
I was placed in the first show and returned about an hour before for hair and make-up and rehearsal. Upon arriving, I and the 2 other guests singing in my show were ushered into a neat-looking lounge. This is where we hung out and rotated being vocally coached and glamified. My first station was the vocal coaching. I went into a room with a mirrored wall and another banging sound system and karaoke t.v. The vocal coach was really fun and passionate and recommended ways to sound better singing the song. We pounded the song over and over again until my time was up. I really enjoyed him saying "yea" and making funny noises when I sounded good. It was apparent this man loved his job. Next was hair and make-up. WOO! This was my favorite part. I am a girly girl, through and through, and loved being beautified in a chair. On to rehearse! Lots of guys with headsets wired us, gave us directions, and walked us around back stage and on the stage. I and the other participants rehearsed our songs once on the stage for an audience of only our family and friends and then the show began.
A nearly filled audience cheered as we were brought out and introduced. Then we each graced the stage solo to perform with our strongest singing chops. The biggest karaoke-looking t.v. of all hung on a wall behind the audience for the performers. Monitors were set up for us back stage for us to watch the show when we weren't in it. After we all sang, we came out on stage together and they played this song "I Got The Music In Me" sung by Jordan Sparks with a music video filmed around the park. The audience members danced along and we pretended that we weren't nervous to find out if we won or not...
About that winning thing...yea it didn't happen for me but it didn't matter because I got to get my hair and makeup done and sing on a big stage! The American Idol Experience was lots of fun. My only gripe is that is took 6 hours for me and my friend to audition and compete in separate shows. There was about 45 minutes in there for us to eat. I would recommend singing here, just plan lots of time for it and know that you probably won't be park hopping that day. I'll sign off Ryan Seacrest style and say--Siscaretti out!!