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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Front row at American Idol!

Once upon a time, I joined the wait list for tickets to an American Idol taping... and then completely forgot about it. That is, until Friday night when I received an e-mail with tickets to the Top 8 girl's dress rehearsal on Tuesday. Apparently tickets for the live performances in the small theater are mostly for family, friends and other guests, but the tickets said that some seats could become available for people who were at the rehearsal so we crossed our fingers! (I'll save you the suspense: The below picture wasn't at the rehearsal.) Here's how it went down:

My dear friend Carolyn drove out from Vegas to play with me for a couple days and we invited her beautiful sister-in-law Tarrish to come to the rehearsal with us. There were lots of rules for attendance, such as no cell phones or cameras and a very strict dress code. Aside from the obvious "no logo" policy, the dress code also included no white, no heels, and no jeans (that ruled out our plans for dark skinny jeans with cute heels... along with 90% of my closet). The check-in time was 12:30 p.m., but the tickets made it clear that they give out a few extra tickets and thus admittance would still be on a first-come, first-served basis. We arrived around 10 in the morning to be safe and were close to the front of the line, right next to this guy:
Don't recognize him? Yeah, we didn't either. (Told you we weren't hard-core fans!) But his name is Joe Munoz, and he was in the Top 24. Once he said that, we remembered seeing him in a couple episodes and thinking he had a great voice. Joe was really sweet and had come to support his friends. We figured it was probably really rough for him coming back on the other side of things, so we asked if we could take a picture. Everyone likes having fans, right?

12:30 finally rolled around and we were checked in. Someone asked the lady about those potential seats in the live taping and she said they'd let us know after the rehearsal if they were available. Meanwhile, we went through security, they "temporarily confiscated" our cell phones and cameras, and then we waited next to the stage entrance for another hour until they invited us inside.
By the way, this stage is about a 3 times smaller in person than it looks on TV. Crazy! When we walked into the studio, they sort of segregated everyone into the different seating sections around the stage. They then spent about a half hour on our little section alone, making sure that the mix of people, outfits, etc., would look perfect on camera. It was really interesting and--lucky us!--they put the three of us in the front row, right next to where the contestants walk onto the stage.

The dress rehearsal, believe it or not, was our absolute favorite part--by far! It was really interesting to see how much work goes into every little detail that we see on television. Plus, everyone was so laid back and it was fun to see their personalities come out. The girls were all so cute and friendly (and nervous). And may I just say that Ryan Seacrest is a stud? Because he is. He kept coming over to our section and chatting with the three of us... but mainly Tarrish. Do you blame him? She's gorgeous! Meanwhile, he'd be goofing off on his cell phone and hiding it behind the cue card while he practiced his lines. The amazing thing, though, is how professional he was at the same time. He was so knowledgeable about the production and made a lot of little changes so it'd be perfect live. We were impressed.
After the dress rehearsal was over, they began excusing the other sections of the audience. Once everyone was gone, the producers came to our section and invited the 12 of us to stay for the live taping in our current seats. Score! We were so stinking excited. Unfortunately, though, Tarrish wasn't able to find anyone to cover her shift that night and had to leave before the live show. Can you imagine how much of a bummer that'd be? In hindsight, though, she was there for the best part and still got to be on national television. Did you know that the recap clips at the end (where they show everyone's highlights with their phone number) is actually from the dress rehearsal? I sure didn't.
The live taping was fun too; mostly due to the added element of having the judges there (they have stand-ins during rehearsals). I'd heard before that the judges didn't really associate much with each other during commercials back in the Paula days, but they were chumming it up like great friends during our commercial breaks. A few observations? Simon Cowell is really nice, Ellen is incredibly hilarious, and Kara DioGuardi is, in fact, that beautiful in real life. My brother Christian asked me if it was as real as it seems, and I told him it was actually more real. When the contestants didn't do as well, we could almost feel their hearts breaking. And when they rocked it? We were that much more excited for them.
Extremely long story short: it was a great way to spend a day! We seriously had so much fun... and might even watch the rest of the season. :-)


  1. Wow! What a life!!! You do so many fun things, do you ever work? :) Hey, we are doing the give a day get a day for Disneyland tickets too. I signed up at the beginning of Feb, but we don't do the service until the 27th of March. Hopefully, they still have them available. Great minds think a like.

  2. Shut up!! That is so cool! I am way jealous. Now I want to go watch it again and look for you, I didn't notice you the first time I watched it! That is so cool!!

  3. So cool :) looks like you had a fantastic time!!!

  4. So we had to watch the girls show again last night and find you in every possible scene. We would back it up over and over again to get a glimpse of you guys. Wow! How exciting is that.
    Angie felt the same way as you did when she was on Tyra Banks show. It is so amazing how they tape it and use the shots later on in the show. It was so interesting for her to watch the whole process. She ended up on several different episodes as they told them they use the crowd shots however they want!
    We love Idol and find our favorites early on and then listen to their performances over and over. It is the music lover in us!
    Way to be famous and great fun for you!

  5. Ash! You are so much fun! Ok, ...so we are major idol fans! We are going to go back and watch our recorded shows to find you on the girls night that you were there!!! So fun!!! Thanks for sharing that cool expereince with us!! We did totally recognize that guys that was in line with you guys. We remember him in his performances from being in the top 24. Sooooo....is it true that the contestants sound better live than on tv? I always wonder that?? You'll have to tell us. Hey, I loved all your pics....so fun!!!

  6. Wow! You certainly live the life! Is there anything you haven't done!? What a fabulous experience! I'm surprised Matt didn't want to go ;)

  7. Matt actually would've loved to come with us! He's in the middle of some major testing over at NASA and can't really take time off work right now.

    And Lis-It might be true to some extent, but I think no matter where you are: if it's good, they'll sound good, and if it's bad, they'll sound bad. The ones that we thought did the least well live on Tuesday (I don't want to say "did the worst" because they're still so talented) were Paige and Katie, so I was a little surprised to see them both stay.

  8. Alisha-I'm so glad you're doing the Disney thing!!! We'll have to see you when you head down to Cali later this year :-)

  9. OMG...How fun! I am sooooooooo jealous! Looks loke you had tons of fun tho! Yay!

  10. I can't believe you got to do that it's so stinkin cool! I wish I had recorded it so I could go back and watch it again! Next time you're on tv, wave your hands around like an idiot until the camera men do a close up.

  11. Very Cool! That would be fun to attend the biggest show on TV right now. I've heard Idol rakes in 30 million viewers each week which is far more than any other TV show.

    That was awesome that you sat on the front row and met Ryan Seacrest. Very cool.

  12. Put yourself back on the list under another email and see if you can get tickets for the finale! I've gone the last two years and it is SOOOOOO much fun! If I get tickets this year again, then I'll send em' your way to put to use - haha!



  14. Hi, thanks for the post.. I actually found it by googling "cell phones" American Idol, because I am going tomorrow, and wanted to see if they really do take your cell phones away from you before you walk in. So, I guess my question is answered!!!



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