Behind the Scenes at the 2010 American Idol Finale
Friends, if you look up the word surreal in the dictionary, you will see a photo of me, sitting in the American Idol finale audience. Because that’s what happened this week – thanks to the Ford Fiesta folks* – a night where my best friend and I got all dolled up, sat in the Nokia Theater and watched America make Lee Dewyze our next Idol – and possibly more importantly – witnessed Simon Cowell’s last. show. ever. Of all time.
I started watching American Idol in its second season, long before I had this blog, pretty much right as I was having my son. And the funny thing is, I rarely watch TV. The exception being, you guessed it, American Idol.
Why do I like this show so much?
I have no flippin’ clue.
It’s silly. It’s over the top. It’s snarky.
OK, never mind, I just listed three AWESOME reasons to watch the show right there!
And when I started Greeblemonkey, the American Idol recaps started with it.
I even tried to stop writing them, but you all talked me back into it.
So, when Ford called me up and asked me to come, there was NO WAY I was not going. And I am SO GLAD I did. What a fun, wild, busy, crazy, insane couple of days it has been. Even including a scavenger hunt all over LA in a Ford Fiesta, details of which I will save for another day, because – honestly? At this point I only have enough steam to warble out my thoughts about the American Idol finale.
So here goes.
The Night Before
We flew in Tuesday evening, got settled and had about two hours before we were meeting up with friends from LA. So, what does one do when one is staying across the street from exactly where American Idol is being put on? Yes! One walks over and watches the scene!
And quite a scene it was. A ton of former Idols were standing around giving interviews, taking photos, and talking to the hordes of people hoping that they would do just that.
Pro tip! If you ever have the opportunity to attend an American Idol finale, study up on former Idols. I couldn’t remember a lot of their names.
Case in point: S-c-o-t-t M-c-I-n-t-y-r-e. Thank you, Google.
Some I just remember by the songs they sang. Case in point: B-o-h-e-m-i-a-n R-h-a-p-s-o-d-y.
And some you remember by their h-a-i-r.
Just kidding Jason! I remember you because I actually bought your album. And LIKED it, too!
We even had a producer for the show come up and ask us if we would like to attend *that* night’s show, ostensibly to fill empty seats? Unfortunately for her, we already had plans with two of the awesome Shutter Sisters, so we had to get going. The other thing we had to do was hang out in big red waterbed pods on the roof of the Standard Hotel.
SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT STUFF.
The American Idol Finale Show
As anyone who followed my Twitterstream knows, I was pretty much having a cow over what to wear to this thing. Well, I could have saved the conniption, because apparently some people think going to the American Idol finale ranks precisely the same outfit as going to Target. Those people are NOT ME, but somehow they got past the NO JEANS, NO SHORTS, NO T-SHIRTS, NO FLIP-FLOPS, IN ALL CAPS mandate that *I* received.
Neither here nor there, Danielle and I looked CUTE. And when I say CUTE, I mean REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY CUTE.
What You Don’t See On TV
There is a really long line to get in. Long long longity long long. Arrive early. Plan on waiting for everyone to check their cell-phones and cameras since they also seem to ignore the NO CELL PHONES OR CAMERAS, IN ALL CAPS mandate while they are ignoring the NO JEANS OR T-SHIRTS, IN ALL CAPS mandate.
There is a Fake Ryan Seacrest that warms up the crowd and talks to you during commercial breaks. This Fake Ryan gets the crowd pumped and gives away AT&T and Apple related products. Fake Ryan was pretty fun, although I did think it weird how little the Real Ryan interacted with the crowd.
There is a Loudspeaker Lady who cuts in with the count for when it’s time to go back live. Her voice is blasted through a different speaker system and it’s jarring, loud and hard to understand. So, I really should call her the Teacher From Peanuts Loudspeaker Lady.
All the judges leave their table at almost every commercial break. Particularly Simon and Randy. But, I have to imagine that Kara leaves more often in the regular season when she is not hampered by a 50-pound ball gown. And Ellen probably hasn’t figured out that she *can* leave yet.
Having said that, jokingly, Ellen and Kara in particular interacted with a little 6 year old girl that Fake Ryan plucked out of the crowd and brought up to them. That little thang was cute as a button, and it was sweet how awed she was by them, and everything going on with the show.
If you want the truth – we all were awed.
OK, back to the weird stuff. Get this.
Famous Person sings.
Famous Person end song.
American Idol cuts to commercial.
Stage hands run everywhere.
Photographer takes photo of Famous Person on stage with crowd behind them.
Famous Person awkwardly walks off stage in near silence.
This was particularly weird with Bret Michaels who (rightfully so) walked off stage bent over like a 95 year old man, and with Christina Aguilera, who was left to impishly extract herself from the lighting feature she sang from. By herself. I have to give her Awesome Real Person Points for that move, actually.
We were about halfway back, and on the Simon side. Quite lovely place to be. No pressure from the pesky cameras, but still close enough to really see and enjoy. Which I obviously THOROUGHLY did.
OK, sure, at first I was a bit worried it was going to be Fuddy Duddy night, starting off with Barry and Robin Gibb, Hall & Oats, Chicago… don’t get me wrong – all of which were totally fun and I love, they are just such a totally different vibe than American Idol’s core audience.
“Core audience” being teenage girls, people who wear crap to awards shows, and … me!
But Christina Aguilera really did change the mood of the room. Sure she is a bit overly dramatic, but – like, whoah. I have watched a tape of the show from her performance – and you guys did NOT see the real deal that we saw in the room. Again. Like, whoah.
But the *REAL* whoah?
Oh My Janet Jackson.
She is a performer that I have always liked, but probably would never have gone to see in concert, as if she ever tours anymore.
THAT LADY ROCKED THE SOCKS OFF THE ROOM.
Her brother died last year? She broke up with her long-term boyfriend recently? Her weight has been up and down?
She brought all that, and poured into possibly one of the best live performances I have ever seen – ranking up there with James Brown and Stevie Wonder in my book. (Yes, I really have seen both of those gentleman live. And yes, they both were as amazing as you might imagine.)
If you haven’t seen it, the video is here – for as long as Idol will let it stay. However, as with Christina, the video doesn’t even come close to what it was like to be there.
Saying Goodbye To Simon
The other reason I was excited to attend this particular show is because it was Simon’s very last. So, while the sentimentality was a bit over the top (but what isn’t over the top with this show??? -and P.S., that is a GOOD thing!), but it made the night extra cool. Especially when all those million trillion gazillion Idols came back on stage.
Two minor points, though. 1. Where were David Cook, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry? I have been reading various accounts of why they weren’t there, all of which are LAME. 2. Did Jordan Sparks and Kris Allen NOT get the memo about WINNERS WEAR BLACK, IN ALL CAPS?!?!?!?
Everyone I know in real life was a little stunned that Lee beat Crystal. But, all I can tell you is that Fake Ryan asked people during every single commercial break who they voted for – and every single one said Lee. The little girl next to me, also from Denver, also here (with her mom) for the Ford event, with the adorable “Crystal Sparkles” sign was not thrilled with their answers, let me tell you.
Personally, I could care less. I liked them both. They are both super talented and both will hopefully get to make the kind of albums they should, and will have successful careers.
As for me?
I will have an amazing memory of an amazing night.
*Blogger disclosure: This trip was partially sponsored by Ford and the Ford Fiesta. They provided my hotel and tickets, I took care of the planefare. Because I really really wanted to go! Thanks, Ford, for having me! Cross-posted at Greeblemonkey.