I’m always fascinated to see what’s behind the curtain when it’s drawn back for us to take a look at what’s really going on behind the scenes of our favorite shows. Last night on American Idol we got a few glimpses through reverse camera shots revealing a room full of cameras and crew sitting to Randy’s left.
While we had just a moment to see what’s back there Adam Vary from Entertainment Weekly was invited to spend 30 minutes with the peanut gallery in LA and reveals what he learned during his brief visit. Now if you’d like to keep the magical, edited view of Idol alive then read no further, otherwise:
Were the L.A. tryouts really as awful as they seemed on TV?
In a word, no. In fact, I can report to you that I witnessed two classic over-the-top Idol auditions that were light years more interesting than the tone deaf college dropout and his buddy who so tediously dominated an entire segment of last night’s show.
Who is Jennifer Lopez always looking at?
That would be exec producer Nigel Lythgoe, who sits just off camera on the far stage-right corner of the audition platform, holding a dossier of all the forthcoming Idol wannabes on a clipboard on his lap.
Where do contestants go when they enter the audition room?
Not straight to the judges. Most Idol fans already know about the silly fiction the show spins about those giant arena auditions occurring on the same day as the auditions before the judges (they’re often months apart).
Instead of going straight on to the judges, the contestants seem to sit on yet another row of stools lined up just off stage, awaiting their turn — which means they can hear whenever the person right before them triumphs, or bombs.
Are contestants and their requisite entourage truly always celebrating right after they win a golden ticket?
Not really. After watching the auditions, I was brought up to the (extremely quiet) holding room a few floors above, where a handful of contestants were nervously awaiting their turn to wait yet again downstairs, and then wait some more inside the audition room. While there, I noticed a young kid I’d just seen win his golden ticket come up with his mother and stand patiently by the elevators while a producer and a camera crew set up. The camera light turned on, the producer pointed at them, and – action! — the pair came screaming around the corner.
There’s plenty more to read in Adam’s article on EW.com. It’s well worth your time. Hopefully one of these days American Idol will be giving us a call with a similar invite (apparently being the top-ranked fan site on Google isn’t good enough!), but until then we’ll just have to read others’ stories on what’s really going behind the curtains.
What about you? Would you rather keep the TV polished view of your favorite shows or watch how the sausage is made?