Another very early arrival at the Prudential Center (5:30 a.m.) prefaced the onset of "activities" that started at 8:00 a.m. and included everyone waving, screaming, and performing in front of every available camera (60 in all). We are talking helicopter skycams, stationary cameras to the right, left, front, and back of the enormous crowds, news cameras from every local station and a Cam Car, with a boom camera that kept driving up and down the line for an hour while the people paid to stir up the excitement did their best to incite a frenzy of dancing, jumping, and screaming in the crowd of 20,000 auditioners. The kids did lots of jumping. The older folks were just trying to stay warm for the second cold morning in a row.
They finally let us inside at 9. It took about an hour to get everyone in and seated. On the main floor, there were 36 booths set up, 12 lines of three. At 10 a.m., they began to audition, section by section. They started in the red section, # 21, then # 20 and on around in a clockwise motion. Six and a half hours later, they got to me in section 10. Gary was in section 9, so I waited for him before heading down, mostly because they were cutting off the wristbands and making everyone exit the building immediately after auditioning, unless you got the Golden Ticket, where you had to register for the next round and THEN exit the building at the opposite end of the arena.
In hindsight, I probably should not have waited. The outcome might have been different. But as it was, we both ended up with the same judge, about 25, spiked hair, skin tight pants...most definitely an EMO fan. He took one look at me and "Oh God, not another old woman" was so clearly written on his face, that I knew I would not get the ticket. I sang beautifully. But even had I danced naked and sung Mariah Carey, I would not have passed. His mind was made up before I opened my mouth. We were told before going in that the judges would ask our name and some personal questions and then tell us to start singing. He asked my name, told me to sing, didn't let me finish, and said, "Sorry, it's a no" and in less than 30 seconds I was gone.
He let Gary finish his song, but I think it was because he was so busy staring at Gary's lower half that he forgot himself. Poor Gary said it was totally disconcerting to have some guy staring at his crotch while he was singing. In the end, he told Gary that "he was good, but sorry, no" and 5 minutes later, Gary joined me outside.
That was 5 p.m. and they still had sections 2-8 on the lower level and ALL the sections of the upper level not blacked out in the picture yet to audition! I can't imagine how long it took to finish up. I wonder if they really did audition everyone or if they cut it off and left people spinning in the wind. I was really glad our experience was only 10 hours long for the day!
Overall, I was glad I made the effort to go. I did what I planned to do, go through the process. We had fun, even though we endured cold, wind, rain, sore feet and legs, and exhaustion. I won't ever regret the experience, though there is little doubt that I won't repeat it. I met many interesting characters on this little journey, even made a few contacts that could help with my books. I had the chance to visit my son, which is rare for me. And I had quite the bonding experience with my future son-in-law...we didn't kill each other, the wedding is still on, and I made him into a Clive Cussler convert.
All in all, it was a few days of vacation well spent!