The Adventures of Don Chapman

I lead an exciting life.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's It Like To Be On American Idol

Last week, Sarah Sligh and I were in Hollywood to watch Chris perform.

Thursday, Feb. 22 was the results show. You have to get to CBS Studios in Hollywood by 3:30pm for the live 5 o'clock show. It's a bunch of waiting. After checking through security, you wait with the other friends and family. I recognized Blake's [the beatboxer guy] dad from seeing him on the show the previous week, and said "you're famous!" He cracked up, and Sarah and I talked with him and his wife. Really nice people.

Then you're ushered into what they call "the peanut gallery" - a bunch of chairs in the back of the studio. When the guys are lined up on stage for eliminations, they rush all of the guy's friends & family up to the couch room - what they call "the red room." That's the place where you often see Ryan interviewing the contestants before they perform.

We're encouraged to be reactionary - happy, sad, etc. Here's me and Sarah being sad after Paul Kim got booted. Blake's parents are on the left.

Yay! We're happy here. Sundance's mother is happy here.

Then when the girls are lined up for elimination, the girl's friends & family are rushed up to the couch room. And back and forth. Sarah and I actually missed the entire show - I didn't see it until I got home!

Sadly, Chris's good buddy Rudy was voted off. Rudy's a sharp, cool guy and a very talented vocalist. Unfortunately he was stuck with "Free Ride" - he wanted to do a Marc Anthony song with a Latin vibe that would have fitted him wonderfully, but the go-ahead from Marc's people came too late. Morons.

If you've read my newsletter for any length of time you've probably heard me rant about the perils of the music industry, specifically the Christian music industry. I lived through it. My advice for any Christian artist who just signed a record deal would be to put a gun to your head - you're probably better off in heaven. Chris himself was spared a record deal a few years ago with a major Christian label... it fell through at the last minute. Could this, perhaps, be the greatest Christian music blunder of all time? We shall see.

However, I was quite surprised at what a good vibe I got from the American Idol people. They all seem like a very happy, nice, professional bunch. In Nashville Christian music circles you often get that snob attitude... when they look at you, you can just see them calculating in their minds "hmmmm, is this person good enough for me to be talking to?" Anyone who's ever been to GMA week knows what I'm talking about!

I didn't get a whiff of attitude from anyone... even Paula, Randy and Simon seemed down-to-earth, approachable, and... nice! The production manager is a scream - whenever Ryan would goof up an intro and they'd have to re-tape it, she'd make some hilarious comment and the audience would cackle. You would think they'd be stressed out - after all, it's the most popular show in the history of TV. But no, they all just seemed to be having a ball. In the press you might hear that Ryan is said to be a diva but I really didn't see any of that - he appears genuine, affable. The guy probably has the greatest work ethic in LA. How many shows does he do now?

Get this - after the show, the bass player walked up to us. I was almost a little startled - but he just said something like "hi, thanks for coming!" Huh?? Unheard-of friendliness. This guy is probably the top bass player in LA and he walks up to you just to say "hi." That would never happen in Nashvega$, I'm tellin ya!

And isn't that band smoking... and those backup singers... talent just oozing everywhere.

So what about a record deal with American Idol? Even the Idol contestants who are booted often get a record deal with the American Idol machine. And what a machine it is - I heard that American Idol recordings sold more last year than all the other labels combined! If Chris gets voted off [I have a feeling he'll win it, though!] and was offered a deal, I'd feel really good about him working with the Idol folks.


  • At 7:17 PM , Blogger Sheep-Ear said...

    So just which pharmaceutical is Paula using? I'm very depressed you didn't divulge.

  • At 11:47 AM , Blogger Don Chapman said...

    I have no idea, but I do suspect she is on something. Not in a bad way, but I think she has back trouble and who knows... probably is taking something to help it. Maybe that's what's making her a little loopy at times?

  • At 8:43 PM , Blogger Sheep-Ear said... that why she claps funny too? I'm so mean, I'm starting to feel a little guilty. Okay, not that guilty. Shouldn't a dancer/choreographer know how to clap? I mean she's gotta do the jazz hands right?

  • At 9:09 PM , Blogger Amy H said...

    Okay, I'm a late comer to your blog so you may never read this, but how cool that you are getting to be right in the middle of the American Idol craze! I totally have to look for you now in the audience! How long will you be in LA? Are you down there all week every week, or do you just go back for the performances?

  • At 12:19 AM , Blogger Don Chapman said...

    I'll be on tonight, March 27 : )


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