Behind The Scenes At American Idol Los Angeles Auditions

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 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?

Source: EW




    • I guess it's a testament to how well they edit the show. I knew auditions for the judges happen way apart from the mass auditions, but I didn't know about all the time delays between talking to Ryan, performing, and then celebrating/crying.

  1. I would love to hear all about the back stage happenings..I love that stuff..its as interesting as the show itself. Keep em coming.

  2. I like the fancied up look, not knowing what is really going on "behind the scenes". Obviously they can't judge all the people in the crowd on one day, it's Hollywood, and I like it that way.

    Too much reality in this competition is not really fun. When they just got accepted it's great to see them jump out of the door all excited!!!

    C. Match

  3. Remember what happened, when Dorothy and her companions found out the truth about, the great and wonderful Wizard Of OZ? Well, I am not Dorothy and this is not Emerald City!

    There is nothing wrong with a little mystery, I like some mystery every now and then, it keep things interesting!


  5. Give us a little credit…..Of course we didn't think that all this unraveled the way we saw it. This is TV and this show is edited for TV…..Thats why this apology to the public for S. Tyler was a joke….They could have edited it out from the beginning if they didn't like it. Again, we the public, are not stupid people.

    I love hearing about whats going on backstage during taping but I'm not surprised. I truly enjoy the stories.

    MATT: Kept these great stories coming….I love them!!!

  6. hi

    just wanted to say i love the show this year great job with the new judges love them the judges make the show and this year you got it perfect

  7. let the judges ,judge the contestant its easy to say a word than to prove it , just enjoy the show while watching; they say when the show is in high ratings someones want it to down the show "thats you call crab mentality" hi jenny they don't know you so means they don't have the right to judge you why she looking at the contestant of course you can't judge while your eyes is close hmmm something wrong with those detractor of jenny, i love the show go jenny you doing great hope you come here in philippines sing for us!!!!

  8. I love Steven Tyler. I didn't even know who he was until American Idol because I don't listen to his style of music (except Dream On) but he is so sexy and really knows what he's talking about. Jennifer is doing 100 times better than Ellen or Paula or Gina, or whatever her name was. She is not a drama queen and doesn't go on and on and on. It's a breath of fresh air. And I guess Randy is still good too.

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