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Lakers and ‘Idol’ finale give L.A. Live a chance to shine

The L.A. Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles was abuzz with activity Tuesday in preparation for two kinds of battles being staged there, one involving the final two “American Idol” contestants, the other the L.A. Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.

If that wasn’t enough, about 1,000 students from throughout the state were on hand to participate in the California Science Fair, a two-day academic competition being held at the nearby California Science Center in Exposition Park.

Such a confluence of events was what L.A. Live organizers had in mind when they came up with the idea for a downtown entertainment-sports-restaurant hub that would bring tourists and Southern Californians to the complex at Figueroa Street and Olympic Boulevard. L.A. Live opened in 2007.

“We always envisioned L.A. Live being the live entertainment, live sports center capital of not only Los Angeles, but the region.” said Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG, which owns Staples Center and L.A. Live.

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“And today’s just another example of the events that will make not only national but international news,” he added. “There’s no reason to think that the two highest-rated programs of the week will be taking place tonight live from L.A. Live.”

At the Nokia Theatre, the red carpet was laid out and hundreds of fans lined up, carrying handmade signs for their favorites in the “American Idol” sing-off Tuesday night between Adam Lambert and Kris Allen.

Across the way, workers at the Staples Center tied purple and gold balloons to the main entrance in preparation for the tip-off between the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.

Karen Bohrer, whose 16-year-old son, Nathaniel, was participating in the science fair, wandered among the crowd near the Nokia Theatre in a pink “American Idol” baseball cap.

“They’re also idols,” Bohrer said of the students. “They won at their schools, districts and counties.”

Bohrer said she would probably miss the sing-off because she and Nathaniel would be on their way home to San Diego.

Standing on the red carpet, across from a tent where Idol fans bought Lambert and Allen T-shirts, Bohrer said that being at the state science fair and the “American Idol” events were “a good coincidence.”

She said she was rooting for Lambert and the Lakers.

Standing together on the sidewalk, Anthony Solis, 30, and Tony Gonzales, 31, of Montebello, held up signs expressing their desire for free tickets for the “Idol” show.

“We do this every year,” Solis said, hoisting a sign with blue-glittered letters that read: “Idol Anything 4 Tickets.”

Solis and Gonzales planned to rush home after the 5 p.m. “American Idol” taping to catch the Lakers on TV. They both said they wanted the Lakers to win, but they disagreed on who should be the next “American Idol.”

At Staples Center, standing near a bronze statue of hometown boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya, Daniel Kokka of Fresno was trying to buy tickets for the NBA game. Kokka had arrived Monday afternoon from Fresno with his daughter, who was participating in the science fair.

“This is her second time,” Kokka said proudly.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com


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