Emily Little

Back into Idol fever

A while ago, I wrote a column on reality shows. When it comes to these TV shows, it seems like at least half of them are some sort of talent competition. From highlighting singers, to dancers, to those with a bit stranger gift, there is a show for everyone. One of the most well known singing competition shows is American Idol. When I was younger, I was a huge American Idol fan. I watched every single episode, made my parents call in to vote the maximum 10 times, and held my breath during the finale as the winner was announced. In fact, I was such a huge fan, that the first concert I ever attended was the American Idol Live tour – the night before my first day of kindergarten, I might add.

It has been several years since I watched a full season. I usually watch the audition phase, but once the final 10 or so were chosen, I fall off the bandwagon. This season, however, had several contestants that grabbed my attention. I watched through the audition episodes, the group rounds, and when I finally kept watching to the live shows, I knew I was hooked again.

This year, after falling in love with pretty much every single contestant, I was able to convince my mom to take me to the American Idol concert in Sarasota. Initially, she told me we had terrible seats – which I was completely fine with. However, on my birthday, I was surprised with the real tickets, which were fantastic seats and meet- and-greet passes.

When the day finally arrived, I was incredibly excited. We ended up arriving an hour before our scheduled check-in, which was pretty stereotypical of my mom and I. I saw two tour buses about 30 feet from our car and a few people standing around them, so I decided to go walk over. Soon enough, a few of the contestants walked by and gladly came over and chatted with us for a bit.

Eventually, we made our way into the lobby of the venue to check in for our meet- and-greet. We were given American Idol backpacks and snapback hats, which I couldn’t help but laugh at. We were walked through a backstage door, down a few hallways, until we finally reached the meet-and- greet room. Each party took a group photo with the entire cast, which was technically supposed to be the entirety of our meet-and-greet. However, we were about 10 minutes ahead of schedule, so we were able to go back into the room and meet each of the contestants individually.

While there were a few contestants who did not seem to be in the best mood, most of them were beyond nice. After the meet-and-greet, we got to sit in on the sound check and participate in a question-and-answer session. The sound check sounded fantastic, and the contestants’ answers to the questions were pretty hilarious.

One of the contestants is originally from Bradenton, so during the question-and- answer session, the mayor of Sarasota gave him the key to the city which was pretty cool!

After that came the main event – the actual concert. I definitely had my hopes up that certain contestants would sing certain songs that they sang on the show, and most of them did! My mom and I both thought that most of the contestants’ versions of the songs were better than the original version. It was definitely one of the best concerts I have ever attended, and an experience I won’t soon forget!