Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Disney World... Day Four

Today was the day that I planned on auditioning for Disney's newest attraction... American Idol Experience.  Being a viewer of every single season of American Idol you can imagine how stoked I was to have the opportunity to audition to stand on a replica of the American Idol stage.  I knew everything about the attraction so I came fully prepared with an audition song and everything.

I woke up incredibly early to make sure I got beautified and fully warmed up.  I even brought Throat Coat with me in case my allergies decided to close my throat up.  Mom and I got to the parks a little later since I knew I didn't want to audition first thing.  I didn't want to be in the first show since I hadn't seen it yet.  I needed an opportunity to check it out ahead of time. 

By the time I got to the audition area it was about 10:00.  They have a greeter waiting right outside the long walk way up to the doors to guide you in and explain a few rules.  My mom had her coffee with her so they wouldn't let her come into the audition area with it.  She just stayed outside and I bravely went in by myself.  You just stand there in this really nice waiting area with gold records of the real AI winners and wait for someone to come get you.

The first judge came out and greeted me by name.  Already I felt more relaxed simply because he was so nice.  I can't remember his name now.  He asked me a few questions about myself... where i'm from, who i'm vacationing with, what I do for a living, etc.  He told me to just sing my song whenever I was ready.  I was able to choose whatever song in the world I wanted to sing so I chose The Wreckers "Leave The Pieces."  My voice felt right on and it was shaky or anything.  The guy was just all smiles at me the whole time.  He then asked me to take a look at a list of songs (the official AIE songlist) and pick a few I might sing if I made it on stage.  I already knew my two choices.  "This Is Me" by Deme Levato and "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.  The judge suggested "Hot Stuff" because it was more age appropriate as "This Is Me" is typically sung by a younger crowd.  I sang some of "Hot Stuff" for him and after he stopped me he pulled out a card from behind the desk and said "I'm sending you onto the producer!"  I was SO excited that I made it to the "red room."  A big deal from watching season one of American Idol.  Nerdy.. I know.

I basically just listened to songs on an iPod and waited for them to call me in.  There was a 14 year old girl (the show age minimum) in the red room with me and her parents seemed like stage parents (not to be mean... but to be factual).  After they brought her back out and she was told she made it to the show, they told her they were going to profile her with her family for a clip during the show.  Finally, it was my turn!  I walked into the producer's lounge and immedietly I recognized the guy from the promo videos for the attraction.  This room is set up with amazing acoustically treated walls and an impressive sound system.  He gave me a microphone and told me to try my first song, Hot Stuff.  He really liked it and I suggested maybe he might like it better in the lower key.  I sang my second choice song, "Black Horse & A Cherry Tree" for him after that.  He told me he liked the original key version of Hot Stuff the best.  Basically at that point I knew I made it by the way he spoke to me.  He told me to look up on the screen behind him.  Ryan Seacrest came up and told me that I made it onto the show! Thank you, Ryan!!  I got my "Vote For Me" sign to wear around my neck and a piece of paper reminding me what time to come back before my show. 

I walked out of the producer's room and was shocked to see my mom standing right there with the rest of the staff waiting to congratulate me.  They all clapped and I ran up and hugged my mom.  I honestly almost cried because I could tell how proud she was of me.  We walked out and I told her about it all on our way over to meet some characters at the Animation Studio.  Mom and I met Pocohantas and Meeko, Mulan, The Incredibles, and Russell and Dug from UP.  I was very disappointed that Carl wasn't there along with the rest of the UP gang.  I really wanted pictures with all three of them.  Meeko suggested that I sing for him and Pocohantas.  She told me to sing "Colors Of The Wind" to them.  After I sang a little bit she freaked out and told me that I was definitely going to win my show.  It was funny because she was struggling to stay in character!

Mom and I caught the 11:00 show of AIE so I got a feel of what I needed to do.  By the time that show was over it was almost time for me to head back to the attraction.  My friend Ed left his family at Animal Kingdom to come and see me perform.  He's basically my biggest fan so it meant the world that he could be there.  My mom and him get along so well so they had a blast hanging out while I was in hair and makeup.

I met the two other contestants i'd be performing with.  We all took turns having rest time, private vocal coaching, and hair and makeup.  During vocal coaching my voice started to get warn out from doing my song so many times.  The guy was really awesome and gave me some good tips.  He said I looked "too professional" on stage and to appear less polished because the audience really likes people who feel "real" and not to "performy."  Made sense!  In hair and makeup I felt like I was talking to one of my girlfriends.  We talked about MAC cosmetics for a while and what she did before doing makeup at AIE.  Typical girly things. :)  After all of that excitement, the stage director took the three of us through a walk through of the show.  We learned where to stand and when as well as what order we would perform in.  Then we got to do a run through of our song. 

Show time came and we all nervously sat around backstage waiting to just go on and get it overwith.  I went third so I waited for the first two folks to go and then it was my turn.  By the way, I loved the people I performed with.  Totally down to earth people that were very supportive.  It was so much fun to be around really relaxed people.  It didn't feel like a competition because we all just wanted to perform.  Anyways... I had a great interview with Sean, the host, and they threw together a clip of all the crowd outside screaming my name.  And they even had a little boy saying "Stacey, you're my American Idol."  It was precious!! 

The judges had nothing but great things to say about me.  I was somewhat shocked.  They all said I looked very comfortable on stage and I put my own "voice" into the song.  The "Simon" like judge who wasn't exactly nice to the other contestants gave me a great compliment.  He said he could see me on the red carpet doing interviews and comfortably performing right away.  I was waiting for the punch line to the joke... but there wasn't one.  Huge sigh of relief that he didn't bash me in front of the whole audience. 

The rest of the contestants came out and we did a little "shake what your mama gave ya" dance time with the host, Sean.  I'll forever be singing "I've Got The Music In Me" in my sleep.  I can't imagine what Sean goes through hearing that song so many times a week.  Poor guy.  After dancing, we were brought to the center of the stage for judging.  Sean reviewed the judges critiques of us and then after long drawn out anticipation he announced the winner....... Me!  I was honestly surprised.  I thought the other two contestants did really well and they had a lot of family out there supporting both of them.  They played a video for me to watch where all of the previous Idol winners congratulated me on my win.  The judges then came up and we all waved goodbye to the audience. 

We got our mic packs taken off of us and we said goodbye to the staff.  The stage director gave me a slip of paper to remind me of what time I needed to be back for the finale show.  I ran down the steps of the stage to go find my mom and Ed.  I came out and they were right there waiting for me and gave me lots of hugs.  They both were BEAMING!  It made me feel really good to know that they were so proud of me. Mom bought me a microphone shaped "trophy" that said "Best Daughter" and an American Idol Experience coffee mug.  She then freaks out and grabs my hand dragging me over to the merchandise area.  She yells at two cast members "She won!  She won!  My daughter won her show!"  This was only slightly embarrassing given I didn't know these two women but I clearly could tell that my mom had been talking me up to random strangers.  The CMs were so happy and asked me all kinds of questions.  Right after that the three of us were walking away when this asian tourist stopped me and asked to record me for his home video.  I'll tell you... most awkward 3 minutes of my life.  He just wanted me to stand there while he zoomed in on my face.  Only, while i'm standing there posing he goes, "oops, I forgot to turn the camera on." 

Ed and I wanted to ride Rockin' Roller Coaster together as well as Tower of Terror.  On our way over there I kept getting shouted at by people telling me that they voted for me.  After riding those two things (very quickly I might add) we stopped into the restroom where I had a couple of people stop and talk to me that were at the show.  Ed departed from us so he could get back to his family and mom and I decided that we needed lunch.  We stopped over to Studio Catering Co.  Mom got chicken and I got the salad.  We both LOVED our meals.  The marble cheesecake was also pretty dynamite. 

After lunch we walked around quite a few attractions, went into some shops, and got our dinner reservations switched at Guest Relations.  After One Man's Dream (best attraction at DHS by the way) we went into the restroom right outside.  After I came out of the stall I could tell this woman was looking at me.  Then I was washing my hands and she stood there staring.  Her companion came out of the stall next to me and they gossiped together.  Just as my mom joined me they came walking over going, "you were great on the show today!  For half the show we thought you were a cast member standing in."  I got a good kick out of that one. 

I even ran into another good friend of mine at the Studios that day...

By the time the evening rolled around we were actually getting pretty tired.  I was pretty much ready to get the performance overwith.  I went backstage at AIE about an hour before the show.  I met the other 5 contestants that i'd be competing against.  I've gotta be honest, it felt cut throat backstage.  No one talked to each other and some people threw out some death stares.  There were also a couple of sets of stage parents that annoyed the heck out of me.  We all had to introduce ourselves to each other and say what song we'll be singing.  Immedietly I could tell who would be crowd favorites based on the songs they chose.  When the black girl said she was singing "Respect" I knew we were all toast. 

We all got touched up by hair and makeup again and got our mic packs put back on.  I was told that I would be closing the show yet again and had the privalage of the coveted seated interview.  Only one person a show does this.  We did blocking with the stage director again because now instead of 3 people there would be 6.  After all that we just sat nervously backstage waiting to go sing. 

One by one people went on and came off.  It all flew by so fast.  I really was wishing at that point that they hadn't chosen me to go last.  The only person who seemed even friendly enough to talk to me was a guy from England.  Everyone else kept to themselves for the most part.  It was finally my time to go on and I was feeling the pressure.  My nerves really had a hold of me this time for some stupid reason.  I did my little interview and they played the same clip that they did before with people cheering for me outside and a cute little asian boy saying "Stacey, you're my American Idol."  They started the music before I even got out of my seat.  Threw me off my flow a little bit.  I did fine though.  I felt a little more tense and my voice was kind of getting some of that tenseness.  After my performance the judges gave me some critiques.  The first judge liked me,  and the female judge said she liked my stage presence and the tone of my voice but that I could have been more solid on the high notes.  If the female was just "ehh" on me I was worried about the "Simon" judge.  To my surprise he told me that my performance was his favorite.  That I had the most personality, was the most marketable, and all around the most talent.  I was shocked and so happy. 

Judging time came and to none of our surprises it was the girl who sang "Respect" that took the cake.  She really did an awesome job and deserved to win.  I had a blast doing AIE and would totally do it again since I can't get enough of performing. 

Mom was waiting for me right outside again and I got lots of hugs from her.  We both were so pooped and so hungry that we were just excited to be leaving the park and heading to dinner at Cape May Cafe.  We had to take the boat over to Beach Club from DHS that night.  When I got on the boat there were people that were at the show congratulating me and even some from Michigan saying that I represented the state well.  The older couple we sat next to told me they voted for me. How cute :) 

Dinner started off bumpy because the reservation that Guest Relations had made for me must have not gone through properly because they didn't have us in the system.  They were still able to squeeze us in on a busy evening and we waited maybe fifteen minutes for a table.  Cape May Cafe has always been one of mom and I's favorites.  It's typical clambake food with some regular "meat and potatoes" selections. 

After a very exciting day at DHS we headed back to Pop Century and met up with Ed again.  The three of us went to Downtown Disney together.  At World of Disney a very nice family stopped me and gave me their support.  They were from Indiana... just south of where i'm from.  They were at the first show and saw me so they came back to support me for the finale.  Apparently they were rallying to get people to vote for me outside of the theater before the show.  HAHA!  They thought it was a crock I lost the last show.  I explained I didn't do it to win anything... just to get to perform.

I was so happy to hit the hay at about midnight that night after saying 'bye' to Ed.  He left the next morning.  What a great day mom and I had!


  1. Great post. I've Dibb'd about it here: http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=4501297#post4501297

    Well done!

  2. Sounds like a long day.

    Out of curiosity...what does the winner at the end of the day get anyway?

    Are you going to try out for the real Idol one of these days?

  3. The winner at the end of the day gets a "front of the line ticket" for a real American Idol audition. You don't have to get there 24 hours ahead I guess. You just show up and they put you in a holding pen and then you get to go in first.

    I'm not sure. Without Simon and Paula i'm not sure I can find an extra reason. haha. I COULD just to see what happens. I might kick myself if I don't. If anything I could try and get a trip out west for Hollywood week out of it. I've never been.

  4. Yeah...I think it would be worth it just as an excuse to go out there and for the experience. If you make it back to WDW again I think you should give the show another shot too!

  5. I'd definitely do the show again! I had a blast! I think i'd be better prepared the 2nd time. I wish they'd change the song list. It's not very big and some of the songs are so blah.