PASADENA, Calif. – Thousands of “American Idol” hopefuls descended on
the Rose Bowl before dawn Tuesday with wide-eyed dreams of becoming the
next Taylor Hicks or Carrie Underwood.
The competitors taking the field Tuesday had “American Idol” fame in
mind, not football. Pasadena was the first of seven cities where
producers of Fox TV’s talent show planned auditions.
Roads leading to the Rose Bowl were clogged as auditioners hurried to meet the supposed 6 a.m. PDT deadline to line up. Outside the stadium, early arrivals gathered — some huddled under blankets, some wearing headphones and silently mouthing lyrics. Others did last-minute makeup checks.
The generally subdued early morning crowd roused itself occasionally, once when sample breath mints were tossed into the crowd and another time when TV news crews went on the air.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time,” said Corrin Moore, 19, of Oceanside. She finally got up the nerve, she said, when friend Candice Starks, 21, also of Oceanside, agreed to join her for the tryouts.
Surveying the growing crowd, Moore said: “It makes me feel nervous. There’s a lot of talented people out here.”
“American Idol” has demonstrated its prowess as a starmaker by turning unknowns into overnight sensations with awards and hit records. As the top-rated TV show last season, it has shattered expectations that it couldn’t sustain its popularity.
“American Idol” also continues to deepen its pop culture imprint. Hicks, the latest winner, and finalists from last season are on tour, other contestants are pursuing solo careers and the Lifetime channel is airing a movie about and starring past winner Fantasia this month.
On the new season that begins airing in January, “American Idol” will up the ante with a songwriting contest in which professionals and amateurs will have the chance to compose tunes for the finalists.
Upcoming auditions for singers: Alamodome, San Antonio, Friday; Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, N.J., Aug. 14; Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, Birmingham, Ala., Aug. 21; FedExForum, Memphis, Tenn., Sep. 3; Target Center, Minneapolis, Sep. 8; Key Arena, Seattle, Sept. 19.
Those intending to try out were asked to register up to two days before an audition, but that offered no guarantee of being seen and heard on the big day.
“If our time is running short the producers may walk around the venue to pick out people to audition … based on performing ability, look, style, personality and other factors,” according to guidelines posted on the show’s Web site.
Passing the initial scrutiny is just the beginning, with follow-up auditions to winnow the pack even more.
It’s a relative handful that get to strut their stuff for Simon Cowell,
Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson and see their auditions — good, bad or ugly, and the judges’ appropriate reactions — featured on the show.
Those rejected in one city can jump to another and try again.
According to the Web site, hopefuls can be accompanied to the audition by a friend or relative and can tote in items such as blankets and water. On the banned list: alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, animals and hair dryers.
On the Net: