Tuesday, June 16th 2009
With very little sleep and the excitement of the day ahead building up, we hit the road (by way of McDonald’s for some breakfast on the go) about 5am to head into the city. Heather suggested that we ride the Marta into downtown so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking or walk 100 blocks to get to the Dome. So, once we finally figured out how to work the machine to get our Marta tickets, we were ready to go…or to stand and wait for the train with all the other lunatics who were awake at 5:30am.
We finally arrived at the entrance to the GA Dome about 6am. As we began to see other eager contestants and the lights of film crews, our excitement grew! We found the beginning of the line and also found that many people obviously ignored the “No Camping Out” rule, as we passed many people passed out on blankets and sleeping bags for about the first fourth of the line. So, we were walking toward the end of the line…and we walked…and we walked…and we walked…and FINALLY we reached the complete opposite site of the GA Dome and also the end of the line. We were still a good 90 minutes away from the doors opening, so after a quick photo to begin our journey, we joined the rest of the crowd by sitting down and preparing to wait. It was then that we were really able to start looking around at the other contestants and their guests. There was crazy hair and glasses. There were girls dressed alike in neon pink tank tops and cowboy hats. There were lots of signs. And there were the 2 girls directly in line behind us. Both girls looked rather young and had their moms on board for the journey. One mom, who looked rather natural in appearance (jeans and a t-shirt with no make-up), began to talk with the other mom, who was the opposite of natural in appearance. She had picked out what I am sure was the brightest shirt in her closet, and had bright and shining lipstick to match. Her caked on makeup and overpowering perfume and eagerness to have a very loud conversation with anyone who would or wouldn’t listen was a sure sign that she was there to be seen…or smelled…or heard. At any rate, we had front row seats to what turned out to be a rather interesting conversation. They discussed song choices and their daughters’ accomplishments in music at school and then, Natural Mom says to Make Up Mom, “So, what are you singing for your audition?” Make Up Mom, with a confused look on her face says something like “I’m not auditioning. I’m 50 years old!” It was then, AND ONLY THEN that Natural Mom realized that she was not going to be able to participate in the competition as a contestant. Maybe she neglected to print, read, highlight and place in a cute folder, key information from the nearly 25 pages of Rules, FAQs and Audition Information from the Official American Idol website.
About 30 minutes later, the line began to move, and thankfully at a pretty steady pace. We were extremely lucky because it was still pretty early in the morning and for the majority of the time, we were shaded by the walls of the GA Dome. We very quickly realized that people close to the outer edge of the line were the ones getting close ups when the camera and production crew passed by. So, we inched our way to the edge…which was also, thankfully, away from the Moms we had encountered earlier. There were a couple of crews walking around…one was getting random shots of the crowd in general and the other was actually doing interviews with individuals and getting the crowd riled up for big group shots. It was VERY obvious from early on that they were casting for a TV show and not for a vocal competition. It could have been when a producer shouted “We need someone with a crazy outfit” that gave it away. While my hair was battling some serious Atlanta humidity and growing larger by the minute, I’m afraid my cute green tee and black linen shorts didn’t make the mark. We would see the production crew nearing, and break out our best smiles for the camera…and EVERY SINGLE TIME they would walk past us and interview someone within 5 people of where we were standing. Maybe I should have worn my prom dress. At least we were able to grab a few seconds on camera as they passed by us waving and screaming. Whether or not any of those moments actually make it on air, remains to be determined.
While we continued to wait in line, we heard people singing all around (some pretty good and others not so much), a few people dancing and lots of people who were American Idol know-it-alls, and several people who had never even watched the last season of the show, but proceeded to give their rather harsh opinions on the previous season’s contestants.
And then, a glorious 2 ½ hours after we lined up, we heard the blaring mega phone and instructions to have our ID ready to present. This started an all out frenzy of people digging through purses and bags (though none quite so large as my LL Bean back pack filled with all kinds of essentials that we didn’t end up needing) and yelling and wondering if we needed release forms as well or birth certificates or proof of sanity. And then we picked a line to enter the Dome. We entered the Dome, chose another line for a table to receive a wrist band. We walked up to the table, handed the nice lady our IDs. She looked at them, checked our ages, verified that I was auditioning and Brooke was my guest, placed the wrist bands on our arms, warned us about getting them wet or destructing them in any way, handed us a paper with information about the audition day and wished us well. Note: We waited in line for 150 minutes. The actual time needed to complete the ID/Wristband portion of the audition process was about 90 seconds. And, so we left…but only to see as the person exiting the building AFTER us be pulled aside for an interview with the production crew. Great.
We grabbed a few quick pictures with our prized wristbands and headed back to the Marta station. As we were about to enter the station, a couple of guys saw our wristbands and asked if they just needed to keep going the way they were going to line up. And at first glance, I realized that I recognized one of them as a former Mars Hill College student! We had a brief conversation and wished one another good luck.
We decided that since we’d been up for about 5 hours already and it was only 9am that we should find some food and caffeine. My car was parked near Atlantic Station, so we decided to make a trip to IKEA for some food and shopping. By the time we made it there, ate and enjoyed sitting for a few minutes, we realized that we were almost too wiped out to shop. If you know us at all, you know that us being too tired to SHOP AT IKEA is not something easily accomplished. So, we skipped to the 2nd floor and meandered through the aisles. We looked a little like zombies. We quickly realized that our lack of sleep was causing EVERYTHING to be HILARIOUS.
We finally made it to the check out and after paying for our purchases (I had my cheapest IKEA trip ever and only spent $3!!), we shuffled to the car. The GA Dome was on the way to Heather’s, so we decided to swing by and see how long the line was. We left at 9am and 3 hours later, there wasn’t a single person waiting in line!
We forced ourselves to stay awake until we reached Heather’s house. Our friend, Alisha, was also staying with Heather that week. So, we apologized to her for skipping out on some visiting time and headed straight for our beds…and about 4 hours later, we rose from the dead, feeling refreshed and a little more like human beings again.
We went to dinner at this great little seafood joint in Douglasville and even managed to swing by Travis Tritt’s home while we were out an about. We relaxed for the rest of the evening and were sure to watch the evening news for the American Idol coverage…and weren’t the least bit surprised by the fact that we were able to VAGUELY see us in a quick random crowd shot…good thing I have big hair!