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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.

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