Note: Vanessa Rakis-Garabedian, a student writer for The Bee, is in San Francisco this week tracking her husband, Westley, as he auditions for the upcoming season of “American Idol.” She’ll be filing guest blogs for The Beehive.
THURSDAY PT. 2
It’s a “no” for Westley.
After about eight hours of waiting he got his 30 seconds in front of two judges and they turned him down. But he hasn’t lost his smile or his love of singing.The process went something like this:
After all the contestants had entered the stadium and found their seats they filed down to the field one row at a time. Once on the field, groups of four contestants sang one at a time for a pair of judges behind one of ten tables.
If the judges said “no,” the contestant walked off the field through the fence, had his wristband cut and was sent on his way.
If the judges said “yes,” the contestant walked across the field to the dugout where they waited for an interview. If they were still liked after the interview, they were asked to sing again (contestants were asked to be prepared to sing up to three songs). And then if they were still liked after that they came back for another interview. If it was a “yes” after all of that then they were invited to sing for the TV judges sometime in September.
So, Westley is on his way home to continue singing and writing music.
THURSDAY PT. 1
Well, 5 a.m. came way too early. But we made it. I discovered that the primary reason the staff asked everyone to be there that early was so they could get a lot of footage of sleepy-eyed but excited contestants early in the morning.
We spent around 2 hours waiting in front of the main entrance for AT&T Park, camped out with thousands of other singers and supporters. The crowd certainly was colorful–from a girl in a superman leotard to a young man in maroon velvet.
The production crew egged the crowd on with a megaphone and requests for cheers and chants while the camera captured it all.
They didn’t actually start letting people in until after 7 a.m. Westley has found his seat by now and will spend the rest of the morning warming up his voice and mingling with other contestants.
After exploring San Francisco for the better part of the morning, Westley and I went to AT&T Park to get me registered as a guest for the auditions. No long lines today. But unfortunately the American Idol staff told us that since I wasn’t with my husband at the time of his registration I would be unable to watch the auditions as a guest.
We did get some useful paperwork that outlines what Westley is allowed to bring into the stadium as well as what time he should get to the entrance…that would be 5 a.m. (yikes!)
So, the plan for now is that I will go with him to stand in line in the morning and hang out until he goes inside. Then I’ll either wait around for a bit or head home, depending on what time it is. He promised to keep me up-to-date on what happens inside and, of course, on how well his audition goes.
I think he’ll do well (maybe I’m a bit biased). He’s been humming his audition song–”Her Eyes” by Pat Monahan–all day.
For one in particular, my husband Westley, it actually began around midnight as he drove from our home in Clovis to the stadium where he joined an already well-formed line full of participants eager to register.
Westley auditioned last year at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, so he knew what to expect for the most part. There are two days of registration followed by one full day of auditions on Thursday.
Since we came to the city in two cars and I joined him much later Tuesday afternoon, I didn’t register Tuesday but will go Wednesday and get a wrist band in order to be allowed into the park for the audition day.
From what Westley has shared so far, the group of contestants this year is quite talented and … well … we’ll just say “diverse.” It should be quite an adventure to watch as it all plays out. One thing’s for sure: the audition process is not at all how it seems on TV.
Pictures and video to come.