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The American Idol Experience

by Meghann on February 27, 2012

My greek yogurt parfait was AMAZING this morning. Not only was it crazy delicious, but the high protein content kept me full for hours. I was so sucked into playing catch-up with work stuff on the computer, that I didn’t even realize it was lunch time until the hunger started to roll in around 1:30 (usually I eat lunch at noon!).

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I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, but a quick look around the kitchen had me pulling out a sweet potato, a can of pinto beans, a bag of spinach, and some goat cheese. A quick spin in the microwave for the sweet potato… a sprinkling of beans, spinach, and goat cheese… a few minutes in the oven… and lunch was served.

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It was good too. I need to make this again. :)

The American Idol Experience

You may or may not know this now, but I’m a Disney fanatic. Surprised? Yeah. I didn’t think so. ;)

The truth is I grew up at Disney. My parents realized early on that weekend trips to Walt Disney World were the easiest way to entertain four kids, so they continued to renew our annual passes right up until the teenage years hit and it wasn’t ‘cool’ anymore. Then, sometime in my twenties, a re-newed interest took hold that is still going strong today. Because of all of this, I’ve been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count, yet I know that I still haven’t done it all.

For instance, just this weekend, I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom lodge for the first time, ate at Sahaa for the first time, ran my first Disney 5k, and learned that you automatically receive free parking to all of the parks if you’re staying on disney property. <- thank you Heather for teaching me that last tidbit!

When Kelly and I were walking around Hollywood Studios, I realized there was something else at Disney that i’ve wanted to do, but had never done before: The American Idol Experience.

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The American Idol Experience is an attraction that opened in Hollywood Studios two or three years ago. Honestly, I knew nothing about it before yesterday. I had vague idea that people audition to sing in the big showcase at the end of the day, but I didn’t know much after that. We had time to kill, so I figured why not take a chance and see what it was all about.

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First of all, I am NOT a singer – nor do I live in an alternate reality where I believe I am. I can’t carry a tune to save my life, but that doesn’t me I don’t like to sing. I sang in musicals in high school (only as a member of the ensemble where no one could hear me), I have no shame belting it out in the car (don’t say I didn’t warn you if you ever want a ride), and I’m the queen of karaokee (after a couple of drinks, of course).

When I first walked up to ask the lady standing guard what the American Idol Experience was all about, she got very serious explaining the process. First she asked my age (you have to be 14 to audition and 18 to be selected to move past the auditions – I’m going to pretend she was asking because she thought I was under 18 and not just because it was a standard to ask ;) ). Then she told me that each participant goes through the American Idol audition process just as they would auditioning for the real American Idol. Only, less lines and no cameras.

Essentially each participant has 30 seconds to sing whatever song they want to a professional casting director. The casting director then critiques the performance and decides if the participant should move on to the second round of auditions or not. If they move on, the participant then sings a full song to a room of three judges; and, if they pass that test, they would be featured in one of the three showcases throughout the day where the audience votes for the winner. The grand finale is the last show of the day, where all showcase winners compete against each other for a chance to win a ‘golden ticket’ to a real American Idol regional audition that would allow for a chance to skip the line.

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Hmm… intense. What if I just wanted to do it for fun? She said that was ok too.

So Kelly and I got in line and waited to enter one of the audition rooms to sing in front of the casting director.

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The wait wasn’t bad – maybe 10 minutes? – and the casting director was actually really sweet. She congratulated me on my race (I was wearing my medal still :) ) and asked if I was a singer. I told her I wasn’t and I was just doing this for the experience. She encouraged me not to be afraid and walked me through a couple of deep breaths before I began.

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I chose to sing Little Mermaid’s ‘Part of Your World’ only because it was the only song in the whole world that I could actually remember the words to at that moment. It wasn’t a requirement to sing a Disney song, but for some reason it was the only one in my head.

I took a deep breath and just began. Even though the whole process was completely private (and I was doing this just for fun!) singing in a room with a judge was still a little nerve wracking. I tried my best and got the first verse out without embarrassing myself too badly (even though I forgot a word or two long the way).

The casting director clapped enthusiastically at the end and told me I had a sweet voice – untrained, but sweet. Awww… shucks. Then she told me what I knew I was coming – I would not be moving on to the next round. Well, there goes all my hopes and dreams – darn it! ;)

She did encourage me to keep rocking it out to karaokee and to keep singing if it makes me happy. Oh, don’t worry – being rejected from American Idol will not stop me from embarrassing myself with trying to sing in front of others. Pinky swear. ;)

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Overall, I thought the American Idol Experience was fun! I think it’s something every Disney goer should do once, especially if they’re a fan of American Idol! It’s a great way to get the whole experience in (whether you can really sing or not) without the crazy crowds and lines that real American Idol auditions are known for. PLUS if you actually can sing – there’s a chance you could win the day’s competition and earn a fast-pass to your very own real-life American Idol audition. I’d say that’s a great prize, if you ask me. :)

Have you ever participated in the American Idol Experience? Have you ever auditioned for the real American Idol? I’m curious how the two differ.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cait's Plate February 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Hahaha that’s AWESOME! I’ve never done either (I don’t think America needs to experience my singing voice) – but the experience looks pretty stinkin’ fun!

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2 Samantha Angela February 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Do they let you pick your own song for all the rounds?

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3 Meghann February 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

You can pick whatever song you want for the first round, then they provide a list for the second round because it’s basically a karaokee set-up where you’ll sing with music.

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4 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio February 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Too cute!! That sounds fun. I’d suck though!

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5 Sana February 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Oh darn, did your sister do it as well?

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6 Meghann February 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm

No – she was too chicken! But she really does’t like to sing, so she didn’t care at all.

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7 Maureen February 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

How fun!! That lady looked so nice – I would hate to have her job. Can you imagine having to listen to all these people that think they really are the next AI? You are really brave for trying it out. I ony sing in my car and on tables when I’ve been drinking! lol

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8 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Ha ha that is a great way to live the dream of auditioning without the fear of harsh criticsm and rejection! (well, mean rejection lol)! That sounds like so much fun and definitely an experience that would take me out of my comfort zone!

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9 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

That looks like fun but I think I would still be incredibly nervous to sing in front of a stranger for 30 seconds! My face would probably turn bright red in the process :P.

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10 Sierra February 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Gabi Carrubba who was recently cut from American Idol this season won the American Idol Experience. I went to school with her from 5th to 9th grade and I know she auditioned when she was 14. It sounds like alot of fun!

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11 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 27, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Oh my gosh, there’s no way in hell I’d be able to muster up the courage to do that as a Disney thing, even knowing that it’s not real. Nerve wracking!

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12 Alaina February 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I would so participate in this! I sang throughout high school and college and miss it so much. I’ve been judged once (for Central District – which I made!) and I think this would be such a fun experience.

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13 Danielle @ Long May You Run February 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Being a professional musician, there’s no way I can pass up this post without a comment ;) You got to experience a little bit of what musicians go through all the time! Many auditions require a pre-recorded round (you send in a CD and if you’re of the level they’re looking for, you’re invited). Then the first live round is usually behind a screen so you can’t see the panel and they can’t see you (they just know you as a number). Then if you pass THAT round, you get to audition AGAIN without the screen playing different things. It can be very nerve racking!!

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14 Kathy February 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

That is hilarious…we love Idol around our house…so that seems really cool.

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15 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness February 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Oh my gosh! I can’t believe that is a thing at Disney! I wonder if there are ever any people that are discovered for their singing talent from the experience? Oh…that poor lady must hear some horrible singing throughout the day! Glad you had fun…that is what counts.

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16 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Haha I would NEVER do that. IT sounds cool if you like to sing, but I think people would pay me to keep my mouth shut. It’s that bad.

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17 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I auditioned for The American Idol Experience back in 2009 (2010? I don’t remember…) and it was so nerve wracking! I’ve done countless auditions for musicals and college programs but for whatever reason, I was SO scared to do it.

The lady I auditioned for liked me and was going to pass me along into the next round when someone knocked on the audition room door, peeked his head in and said that they had “met quota” for the day. :( Bummer! The lady encouraged me to come earlier in the day next time and audition so I would have a better chance of being passed on. I still haven’t re-auditioned but I’m hoping to go to Disney for my birthday and maybe I’ll do it!

I did have a friend audition and make it all the way to one of the live shows for the day. She said it was pretty awesome- she got a brief vocal coaching session, went into hair and makeup, and received some tips on how to sing on camera.

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18 Joss February 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

No way! Never have and never will haha :D I had a friend who made it quite far on Canadian idol though (top 3!) :D

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19 Lisa February 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm

That sounds like so much fun :)!

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20 corey @ learning patience February 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Sounds like fun!

xoxo from Trinidad

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21 Kadye February 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I’m so glad you finally auditioned for it because they’re actually GETTING RID OF IT!

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22 Meghann February 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Really?!?! I hadn’t heard that! Boo :(

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23 Lily February 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm

HAHAHA that is so great!!! I can totally picture you killing it (in a good way) in the auditon room! Too great. Good experience too! Glad you’re able to have fun like that :) Congrats again on the race!

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24 jena February 28, 2012 at 9:12 am

That is funny! I could NEVER do something like that! There is a little bar about a mile from our house that does kareoke some nights and my husband always trys to get me to go up there and sing. I’d probably pass out and die of embarassement. I’m super awesome at car kareoke though!

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25 Carissa February 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

How fun! did you sister audition? I’ve never seen that show nor audition. Now I”m on a mission to make Kyle do it! haha!

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26 Kath March 4, 2012 at 7:57 am

You are so brave!!! I could have never done that!

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