I should have known, when 101 S. was unexpectedly shut down that this would be a precursor for the rest of the day.
Photographer and I, Dan Slack, on our way
to the American Idol Auditions in San Francisco... delayed by a road block.
It was around 4:30am... and we needed to be set up by 4:30am. Instead, we
were re-routed through downtown S.F. I started getting "that" feeling in my
stomach... and a headache. What if we didn't make our live shot?
the Cow Palace and alas, a massive traffic jam. Bumper to bumper, carloads of
people with stars in their eyes, trying to grab a spot in the audition line.
Okay, so we finally park and then park again because the satellite is having
trouble getting linked up. The Idol PR peeps give us our media badges.
expect to see satellite truck after sat truck lined up, with media from across
the nation... but not the case. It's us, and Fox National. Is the show losing
its appeal? Photographer Dan says when he covered this 2-3 years ago there were
two times the people... and 100 times the media coverage.
The PR gal tells
us we can go where ever we want. Yay! As I get my microphone ready I imagine
walking the line, hearing fantastic singing and showing our Fox40 Morning
Viewers all the crazy costumes.
Can you believe the first girl in line was
there at midnight! Her mom tucked below her in a sleeping bag.
The line 10
people wide... stretching into the distance.
I only see one crazy costume, a
guy in a chicken suit, who's there to support his sister. And... what could be
the best part of my day/life I get to interview Justin Guarini, Season One
Runner-Up. He's now working for the TV Guide Channel and... still a cutie pie.
It's now 20 til the start of the newscast, and Photographer Dan is still
setting up the satellite truck. We decide to do a phone interview instead of a
live shot for the first few hits with Rosemary and Joe at the anchor
Good to go, and as good as it can go... me relaying what I'm seeing and
devastated that you can't be here with me, via the tv set.
By the time we
get the shot ready, it's around 6:30am. We're 5 minutes away from the hit, and
the Idol PR people say we have to move, we can't talk to the people along the
line anymore because Idol has to shoot commercials. Okay...
By the time the
show had ended the Idol people had moved us 3 times within a 2 hour period. I
was less than pleased... and hello it's not like there were 50 other media
outlets to corral.
Before going inside the Palace to perform, auditioners,
who had already stood in line for hours (in the cold and wet Daily City morn)
had to form the number 8, standing on a taped line on the asphalt. Then a guy on
a megaphone made them say things like "It's Season 8" and "Welcome to San
Francisco". This took at least an hour.
The Palace doors opened at 8am and
the crowd began to file in. The auditions didn't start until every last
contestant was seated inside. The media wasn't allowed inside, so we had to get
details on the process from those who came out.
The first contestants to
audition didn't start leaving until around 10am. (In the meantime I had to scoot
to the ladies room, and chose a nearby McDonald's instead of the Idol
porta-potties. My luck though... out of soap and T.P. YUCK! Good thing we had
napkins in the car. I was starving, but after that, those golden fries looked
like fish eggs.
But I digress, we do know Idol had a door for those who
didn't make it to leave, and those who did make it past the first round.
the winning door a lonely security guard, and I swear you could hear crickets
chirping. Like a Wild Western with pieces of trash tumbling by and no one coming
The other door on the other hand had a steady stream of Non-Winners
A beautiful, brunette waitress from L.A. 28-Years-Old. This was
her second year trying out. She smiles and is very smooth on camera. She says
she'll be back for a second round in SF but doesn't know when.
from our area that MADE IT? If so, shoot me a response. I want to follow-up with
these performers who beat the odds.