Thursday, May 28, 2009

THIS...is American Idol!

Photobucket

As many of you know I was able to go to the American Idol Finale last Wednesday night. Let me just say that I think I have peaked. I don't think I will ever have as much fun in my life again. Ever. It was such a high - a drug I could definitely get addicted to! Because I've had so many questions from people, I thought I'd document all the details, so get ready to read everything that you ever could possible want to know about my experience!

Photobucket

First of all, many have asked how I got the tickets. I got them through my friend, Raschell (yes, the Disney Princess - she seems to get me a lot of great deals, huh?!!). She signed up online, which anyone can do. She signed up in January, but she said she's heard that the best way to do it is sign up a few times with different email addresses throughout the year. There's no way to guarantee that you'll get the finale, though. We just got lucky. It's not a lottery system, it's just a normal waiting system so you just have to hope that your name comes up at the right time. Raschell had signed up last year and she got to go to a normal results show. This year she just happened to get lucky and get tickets to the finale! And she just happened to invite me! Also, she not only got finale tickets, she also got seat filler tickets, which we found out are the best tickets to get. Because we were seat fillers we got to sit in the first 20 rows and fill in the seats for the people who didn't show up (mostly celebritys or big wigs in the industry). This might mean you'd have to move if people did show up later, but you'd usually just get to sit in another empty seat. It was so awesome because we got to sit by all the celebrities and we were so close to the stage. These are definitely the tickets you want to get!

Photobucket

So, Raschell called me Monday night and told me she got the tickets. She was in NY and wasn't going to get home until Tuesday night. We were planning on driving through the night with our other friend that could go, Alisha, but at the last minute Alisha got some free vouchers for Southwest from her father-in-law, so we decided to split the remaining cost of the tickets and fly out on Wednesday morning. It made it SO much more enjoyable (not to mention safe). So we got in to L.A. at around 8:30am, or so, got our rental car and drove to the Nokia Theater. You have to get in line for the tickets (there's a slight chance you won't get in, although I didn't see anyone who didn't) so we thought we'd get there early to see if the line was long, just to be safe. The line was already pretty long when we got there, so we just parked and got in line. We had been in line for about two hours, had made friends with the people behind us (who turned out to be LDS) when they started handing out hard tickets to everyone in line. When they got to us the lady said our name wasn't on her list. She looked at our tickets printed from online and said "Oh, you have seat filler tickets. That's a different line," and then pointed us in the right direction. We were all freaking out. What if we didn't get in just because we were in the wrong line for two hours! We flew all the way out here and now we weren't going to be able to even get in! When we got to the seat filler line, though, there's was only around ten people in line. We ended up actually being some of the first in line. Apparantly, the normal ticket line that we were originally in had to line up earlier than the seat filler line, so we were okay. PHEW!

Here we are unaware we're in the wrong line.
Photobucket

Another thing that we noticed was different about this line was that everyone was very dressed up. In fact, people that were in jeans were told that they better figure out a way to change or they wouldn't be able to get in. We realized later that this was because we were going to mostly likely be on t.v. and they wanted everyone to look nice. SWEET!!! I was in some nice shorts that they said were fine, but I decided to change into a dress just to feel more comfortable. They also wouldn't let us have any cameras or cell phones or even purses. We could take in a clutch (I ended up taking in my makeup bag!) but that was it. So, of course, we don't have any pictures of actually being in the theater, which was a huge bummer.

While we were in line, poor Alisha ended up getting sick and had to run off to find somewhere to throw up. I felt so bad for her! She felt a little bit better afterwards, but still needed to lay down in our car for an hour or so.  

We finally got inside the theater and got our initial seats. We all had to move around a couple times as the theater started to fill up. The third time I had to move (the show hadn't started yet) I saw the a seat open on the second row right behind Adam's parents, so I just took it. I couldn't believe my luck!
Photobucket
I was sitting by other seat fillers and we were all so worried that someone was going to come and claim our seats. We couldn't believe our luck when the show started and we were still in our seats! Raschell and Alisha ended up having to move around a little bit throughout the show, but got to sit close to a few different celebrities because of it. And Raschell sat right next to Tatiana during her little bit, so she got a huge close-up when they showed Tatiana. Raschell said that Tatiana was as ridiculous and narcisistic as she seemed on the show. She kept saying she wanted Amanda Bynes to sit by her when the ushers were leading Raschell to sit next to her and then kept her hand on the seat until Raschell practically had to sit on top of it. Then she kept asking Raschell if her hair looked alright and if she had a mirror, or if she could ask anyone around her if they had a mirror. And her bit on stage was totally planned, by the way. I've had a lot of people ask me that. The producers came up to her before it was her time and said "Ok, remember what we talked about." It was definitely staged, although Ruben Studdard's face made it seem otherwise!

Here are some random memories of the night:

I sat in front of Kate Walsh (Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy).
Photobucket
She's even more beautiful in real person, very striking. And her legs are about as skinny as my arms! She was tiny. When I realized she was sitting right behind me I decided I had to talk to her somehow. So when I overheard her talking to her friend about how horrible the song Kara DioGuardi co-wrote for the winner to sing was, I turned around and said, "I know! I thought it was awful!" We then carried on a two-minute conversation about this, which was fun.

I also had to say something to Adam's parents since I was sitting right behind them. I leaned forward and told his mom that I thought Adam was amazing. She smiled and said thank you and that he's had such a fun time doing this. Later in the show, during a commercial break, Adam's dad and wife (his parents are divorced) started talking to me and the other seat fillers I was sitting with and telling us that Anthony Hopkins and his family sat where we were sitting the previous night (so, presumably, they were still his seats for this night and he just never showed up, which is why we got to stay in them the whole show). His dad said, "I was so amazed...he (Anthony Hopkins) tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'We love Adam,' and I was thinking 'I love YOU!'"

David Cook sat three rows behind me after he performed. At one point I turned and looked at him and smiled. He smiled back. :) Also, there was a kid right in front of him and he was so cute to him. He was giving him high five and carrying on a really cute conversation with him. He seemed like a very nice guy.
Photobucket

Christina Applegate sat across the aisle from us. Before the show started some tv people were coming around and asking people to spit out their gum into cups they had. She said, "I need mine" and of course, they let her keep it. I don't know why she needed gum - does her recovering from breast cancer have anything to do with it? I actually had forgotten that she'd had breast cancer and when I saw her I couldn't help but think how flat she was. After I remembered, I felt pretty stupid. :) She also looked older than I expected.

Carrie Underwood sat in the row in front of me about 10 people away.
Photobucket
As you can see in the above picture she looked gorgeous. She had a Hello Kitty bandaid on her leg, it was cute! She also had a sweet conversation with a little girl that sat behind her.

Adam's dad is a horrible dancer! He looked awkward even clapping to the beat! Adam obviously gets his moves from his mom, who was dancing on her feet all night. :)

After Kris won and his wife was hugging him on stage, I overheard Kate Walsh say to her friend, "She better hold on to him tight."
Photobucket

I also thought it was interesting that the second the show was over, bodyguards whisked Kris off the stage. It made me think, wow, here's your new life Kris. His whole life changed in that instant. Adam was standing on the stage with all the other finalists, but Kris was now immediately being treated like a star.

After Kris won and the finalists were still hanging around on stage they were right across from me (they were on the stage that was behind the judges, so closer to the audience). So, I called out to Adam (again, I had to say something since he was right there!) and said, "We love you, Adam!" He looked at me, waved, and said, "Oh, hi!" like he knew me. I was really surprised and of course said hi back. I realized later that I think he thought he was supposed to know me since I was sitting right behind his parents. He was really nice, though!

Adam seemed to be pretty close to his mom. Right before he sang with Kiss, during the commercial break when he was walking onto the stage in his huge boots and funky shoulder-web things (again behind the judges, so he was right by us), he waved to his mom and said, "Hi Mom!"
Photobucket
Then after the show, while the finalists were still on stage he mouthed to her, "I'll see you at the after-party, right?" It was cute. I don't remember if you could tell on t.v., but his mom had on these rocker-looking gloves. They were black, went about half-way to her elbows, had holes for her fingers, and had skeleton charms hanging off of them. It made me think, so that's where Adam gets his glam-rockness!

During one of the commercial breaks towards the beginning of the show (so before Kris had won), Kara DioGuardi came over to Adam's parents and told them how amazing Adam is and how wonderful he's been to work with. It was very nice and seemed very sincere. I'm sure she said something to Kris's parents, too, I just didn't see it.
Photobucket

Adam's brother was sitting in between his parents. During a commercial break Adam's dad and brother were not in there seats (I assume they were in the bathroom or something) and one of the t.v. producers came up to his mom and asked if the dad could sit by her when he comes back because they wanted to interview them together. The dad and brother walked in right as the break ended and slid into their normal seats. Adam's mom was whispering, "They want you guys to switch seats," but the brother and dad didn't move, so she persisted a little but then gave up and rolled her eyes. Another t.v. producer came up and said, "We need the dad and brother to switch," so they finally did. I didn't know his parents were divorced before this, but you could tell they were that night. I mean they seemed cordial to each other - at one point I even noticed they were laughing together - but you could tell that they weren't close at all.

Billy Bush came down and talked to Kate Walsh during one commercial break.
Photobucket
She told him that she had just texted him and he said, "Oh, you brought your phone in? I turned mine in at the front cuz I was trying to be a good example (he nodded to his kids)." I thought, wow, Kate Walsh texts Billy Bush? I guess celebrities are normal people, just like they always say!

When Kris won there was a definite feeling of shock in the audience (as well as on Kris's face).
Photobucket
The audience was very pro-Adam. Maybe it was partly because I was sitting behind his parents and so I kept hearing everyone coming up to them and telling them how amazing he was, but there were also way more Adam signs and a lot more cheering for him. I'm sure it's also partly because L.A. is close to San Diego where he's from and L.A.'s also much more artsy/liberal so Adam would be more L.A.'s style. I have been a huge Adam fan from the beginning, but Kris was always my second favorite. Towards the end I wanted Kris to win because I thought Adam's career didn't need it - he'd be big no matter what. So, I was generally glad that Kris won, even though I think Adam is one of the most talented human beings on the planet and is the first American Idol contestant who's concert I would LOOOOVE to be at.

Here's all the celebrities (or past A.I. finalists who may or may not be considered real celebrities) I saw with my own eyes that night in the audience:
Kate Walsh
Chrstina Applegate
David Cook
Carrie Underwood
Janice Dickinson
Brad Garrett
Heather Locklear
Billy Bush
Piers Morgan (Britain/America's Got Talent)
David Hasselhoff
David Archuletta
Chris Daughtry
Natasha Henstridge
Justin Guarini
Kimberly Locke
Syesha Mercado
Michael Johns
Norman Gentle
Tatiana Del Toro
(Also, add all the A.I. finalists, judges and Ryan)

Here's all the celebrities I saw on stage that night:
Queen Latifah
Keith Urban
Steve Martin
Rod Stewart
Jason Mraz
Kiss
Lionel Richie
Cindi Lauper
Fergie & Black-eyed Peas
Queen (minus Freddie Mercury of course)
Santana

Pretty amazing, huh?! Besides the high of seeing all the celebrities and awaiting the results of the show, it was such an awesome concert to be at. The line-up was so amazing and the place was rockin. As disgusting and perverse as I think Gene Simmons is (and the rest of the Kiss crew) as a human being, Kiss's performance is the most fun I think I've ever had at a concert. You could feel the boom and the heat of the fireworks and the sparks were flying everywhere and everyone was rockin out all around you. It was a complete and total blast. Grant said when the kids saw Kiss on t.v. they called them "The Angel Devils." :)
Photobucket

We had SUCH a blast and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.  I don't think I'll ever be that lucky again, though!  That night Raschell and I went out to eat while poor Alisha went back to the hotel to rest, since she still felt sick (she ended up having to go to the bathroom and throw up while they were announcing the winner).  She was able to smile though for this shot with our A.I. wristbands - proof we were there!
Photobucket

The next day we strolled around around Hollywood Blvd. We went to this great restuarant, Kitchen 24, for lunch and then walked by Grauman's Chinese Theatre. That's when we got interviewed for the thing on the web.


Photobucket

Afterwards we went on a celebrity homes tour of L.A./Bel Air/Beverly Hills. I've always wanted to do one of those, so it was fun to be with other people who wanted to do it, too. Like I could ever get Grant to go on one of those with me!

On the tour "bus"
Photobucket

The whole time we were in Beverly Hills I kept singing, "Beverly Hills that's where I wanna be, gimme gimme, livin in Beverly Hills" over and over in my head. It got really annoying after about an hour.
Photobucket

In front of Dr. Phil's house, which was surprisingly the prettiest house that we saw in my opinion.
Photobucket

Overlooking L.A., close to the Hollywood sign.
Photobucket

On the most filmed L.A. street.
Photobucket

Then we went to Diddy Riese, which has these awesome cookie and ice cream sandwiches for a really great price. That was our dinner! Yum!

It was such a fun trip.  While at the concert I wanted to be one of those finalists and be up on that stage performing so badly. But, the whole time I knew that if I had gone after a performing career my life could never be as happy as it is right now. And nothing could feel as good as hugging my little kidlets that next morning after I got home. Grant said that when Ava saw me on t.v. that night she kept saying, "I want my mommy!" After I got home, I was on the computer and was looking up something about American Idol and Ava was sitting on my lap. She saw the picture of Kris and Adam and said, "American Idol, Mom?" And I said, "Yeah, did you see momma on t.v. at American Idol?" And she said, "Yeah! Mom, I wanna come with you American Idol!" I wouldn't trade anything for that!

I also have to give kudos to my hubbie. This was the second girls trip I went on in about two weeks and he was all for me going. He's such a great husband and I love him. I bought him a "Best Husband" Oscar in Hollywood to show him my appreciation!
Photobucket

6 comments:

Amberlynn said...

WOW! I read everything you did, what a night!!! You were super lucky to get such great seats and sit so close to celebrities that we see on t.v. I love your enthusiasum! You are such a fun girl!!! When we lived in San Diego, we made a trip to L.A. to see Rodeo drive, the hollywood sign, and all the stars lined down the streets etc. It was SO FUN! I recognized some of the backgrounds in your pictures. THanks for sharing your experience. Love ya!

Kateastrophe said...

If I didn't like you so much, I'd hate you right now.

Kristen said...

thanks for the update--finally! did my nudge help you finish it up? :) That stinks that you couldn't bring the camera in. I'm not a big fan of the show (just don't care for it) but I did watch the finale and it was fun to see all the performances. I would have gone on the celebrity house tour with you! You could have competed well in such a contest, but I think you made the better choice in your career path.

Amy and the boys said...

Wow Cass. I'm so happy for you! This was the very first time I've followed AI (in large part to spending a good amount of time sick and pregnant on the couch this winter!) so I actually wanted to watch the finale and knew who the contestants were. We were out of town for it so after I got your email I played it from my DVR and saw you several times. Very cool! This is kinda how I felt at the Inauguration. We sat very close and didnt expect to and we saw tons of celebs there. It's just one of those surreal kinda things. Loved all the pics and the detailed descriptions. Thanks for posting!

Catherine Call said...

Un-FREAKING-believable!!! I can not believe you got to go. So AWESOME!!!!!

Jana said...

UNBELIEVABLE!!! I was waiting to get an email about this, now that I am catching up on blogs...I see why you haven't. That was really fun to read. How lucky! D and I did go back and watch it again after we found out you were there. You are so cute! I like your face when they are about to reveal the winner.