Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My American Idol Experience

I just got back tonight from the American Idol tryouts in Birmingham. No, I'm too old to audition - I went with Seacoast worship leader Chris Sligh [he wrote the Communion Song you can download.]

What an experience! Chris had to be at the BJCC Coliseum by 5am, along with thousands of other contestants and friends. Crowds were estimated to be 8,000 to 12,000. After waiting in line for a few hours he finally entered the building and took his assigned seat. He didn't audition for over four more hours!

The entire bottom half of the Coliseum was filled with people. Section by section, contestants were lined up to take their turn. There were 14 booths, each with 2 judges who judged 4 contestants at a time. Each vocalist was asked to sing about 30 seconds of a song.

Even though Chris is a really great vocalist he's flunked the past two seasons of Idol auditions. He decided he needed some sort of quirky gimmick to get himself through so he grew out his naturally curly hair into an afro. Hilariously, that's what seems to have won this round for him - people told him all day that they "loved his hair." The judge complemented him on his "great look" [as well as his vocal talent] and predicted he'll make it all the way to Hollywood. The music biz is all about the image, folks!

Chris was handed the coveted yellow paper [signifying his triumph] and walked out as the crowd applauded. Judges are picky this year and few were chosen - guesses are not even 300 people were chosen for the next round, so it's quite an honor that Chris made it.

Here's how it works: anyone who makes it past the first round is either really great or really terrible. This round is basically meant to weed out the mediocre middle [although I watched the judges pass on a terrific young singer a la Paris Bennet... people in the crowd actually yelled out in protest "you should have kept her!!"]

In the next round Chris will have to audition before the show's executive producers [the big wig$ who own the show.] If he makes it through he'll then go before Simon, Paula and Randy. Then, hopefully, on to Hollywood where fame and fortune await.

Check out Chris's official website:


Ruth King Goddard said...

I just saw Chris tonight on AI, and he is fabulous. He not only has a unique, but trendy look, a great voice and quirky personality, but he's funny!

I'll be praying for him! He could really make it!

Anonymous said...

I think Chris is genuinely talented. He does not have to work at having that great voice. It's a God given talent. It's not put on or artificial. He doesn't try to sound like anyone but himself. He also has the charisma and sense of humor to be a very good entertainer. I would not listen to anything anyone said negatively about him. He's good and that's all there is to it. I think society's sense of what's attractive is all messed up. We fit people into these little molds that very few people can even begin to fit into. Who wants to fit into those molds? I certainly don't. I think confidence, sense of humor, kindess, a strong faith and pure talent are what are attractive. Chris has all of those qualities. I hope he makes it all the way to the top. Linda

Anonymous said...

So I watched Idol last night to catch this worship leader in action. Good voice - and that's important on a singing talent show. But wow, someone tell him to lay off the sarcasm a bit. The Il Divo/Teletubby comment was uncalled for. I was offended as a Christian to hear that. I've read in a few posts that Chris is a committed Christian and Christ-follower. Unfortunately, I didn't read anything to indicate that when I went to the AI site to read his bio. What's he afraid of? Is he hoping he'll win and then just spring his faith on everyone? Surprise America! You chose a Christian! Ha-ha! You can tell I'm a little disappointed in him. For his sake, I hope he remembers his core - Jesus Christ.

Don Chapman said...

What on earth could possibly have offended you about the teletubbies comment?!? I thought it was hilarious. And what you don't realize is Simon loves little exchanges like that because they're ratings boosters.

Since you ask, I think I know exactly what Chris is afraid of: being associated with judgemental Christians like you.

Anonymous said...

Mighty harsh there Don. I didn't know having an opinion = being judgemental. Or was that you judging me? So easy to blur that line, eh? I apologize for hurting your feelings and I'll be sure not to comment again.

I wish your friend the best and pray that he'll be a witness while he's there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Don,

Have you ever heard Michael Bolton's version of "Yesterday?" I just keep thinking Chris would sound GREAT singing an arrangement like this! If you've never heard it, you've got to check it out! It would show people a side to Chris we haven't seen before.

Mon said...

Hi Don,

Didn't know Chris flunked his first two AI auditions.

So, he's really that crazy in real life, hah?

Take care and have a nice day.