Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My American Idol Audition Experience

Registration: Monday
Nothing about this audition was what I expected. I don't know what I expected but it all seemed a little strange and unexpected. 

So you are suppose to show up at registration sometime in the 2 days before the actual audition. In the case of SLC auditions the 2 days before fell on Sunday & Monday. I didn't really want to go up there on Sunday so I just showed up to register around 9:00 am on Monday (thinking I would have to stand in line for hours just to get my ticket & wristband.  So I parked and headed to the E Center (formerly known as the Delta Center).

First thing I noticed or didn't notice is the line--where was this huge line I was forewarned I would be waiting in for hours.  Yeah, are you as surprised as me to know that there was absolutely no line. I just walked up, showed my I.D (to which the lady said, "oh, you just barely made it "-referring to my age), and got my ticket and wrist band.

Day of Audition: Tuesday

I was told at registration to be in line by 5:00 am. I should have listened to my inner self that said to just show up at 8:00 am--that I would be fine showing up at that time, that my body would need those few extra hours of sleep-that it didn't matter what time you showed up or where you stood in line because you would sit wherever your seat on your ticket said!

So there  I was prepared to sit for a few  hours outside and then more hours inside. I had prepared with my ipod, movies on my ipod, a book, my scriptures etc.  Mostly outside I just talked to the people around me.
The line of people wrapped around the entire E center.

If you look closely at this picture you will see John Peter Lewis (mormon from a few seasons ago--I think the 4th season). I recognized him instantly but it seems that no one around did so I started to say--hey look there's JPL  etc. and then some people recognized him. I was a little shocked---being that I can't say I'm the #1 fan of American Idol--that more people didn't know who he was. 

At about 8:00 am they started to send random groups of partitioned off sections from outside into the stadium. By chance my section was one of the first sections of people to get inside. 

This is what it looked like when I first sat down.

Here it is a few minutes later...

And here it is at capacity. I guess that there was about 10,000 people all together. If you think that each person had someone with them that wasn't auditioning then that means only 5, 000 people in the stadium were actually going to sing (more than that actually because I'm sure there were others like me who would never punish someone else by making them come and sit for an entire day just to hear me sing for 30 sec.)

For the first few hours this lovely man (with an excellent voice) directed the crowd to sing, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and some other song I've completely forgotten. I had a little video of us all singing together--but it wouldn't upload (sorry).

Then the MC directed everyone to listen to him whilst he told us all what was about to happen. This is the part of the audition that might ruin the magic of American Idol for some of you so just be aware--I warned you ahead of time.

MC guy told us that we were going to start auditioning soon (it was now about 11:00 am). He said that they were going to set up about 10 different booths with different producers. Then in groups of 4 we would line up and sing one at a time for the producers. Then they would deliberate and let each person know if they would move on or walk away.

They called the exits the loser exit and the winner exit. In the what like 12 hours I was there in the E Center I think I saw about 20 people go through the winner exit and thousands of people in droves go through the loser exit.

It was just my luck that they would start auditioning from the side of the stadium across the way from me. The girl behind me guessed that we wouldn't actually be auditioning until about 5:00 pm! I couldn't believe it.  What were we going to do for the next 8 hours??

There was a lot of filming, a lot of do this, scream this, cheer this. Then Ryan Seacrest came out on the floor ( he's the man in black in front of the crowd) and talked to all of us for a bit.

I made friends with these guys, Dawoo & Seth, whom I played a little bit of Phase 10 with and mostly we just agonized the long wait together.

On one of my many wanderings on the Concourse I ran into an old and dear friend, Todd Michael Thompson. It was great to see him, he came to support one of his good friends.

Speaking of wandering the concourse--it was crazy!  People singing all over every nook and cranny, people sounding great and people sounding awful! What an experience!

Then at about 5:30 pm it finally became my turn to audition. I got cattle herded into a line with 3 other girls who were all very nervous! I am going to be honest at this point--I had heard a gazillion people sing and I had seen a gazillion and one people walk out the loser exit. I had seen only a few people win golden tickets and disappear back somewhere to go to the next level. The strange thing is I couldn't tell what they were looking for at all. They had turned away plenty of AMAZING singers, they had kept some doozies (of course), and so forth. 

So at this point I wasn't nervous at all. I just wanted to sing my best and go home and get some sleep. Since I had been there since the beginning, I had noticed as the day went on the process began to speed up. The producers were also tired of sitting and listening to a gazillion people sing and were cutting faster and more people as the day went on.

As it came my line's turn to audition I was the first one up.  I sang, "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles (the cut I sang starts at 2:00-3:15 ). Then the next 3 girls sang. Then they asked the last girl to sing again-- a different style of song. She was good and since they asked her to sing again that was great. Then the unexpected--they asked me to sing again--I didn't see that coming. So I sang, "Astonishing" from the musical Little Women (the cut I sang was 1:56- to the end but I didn't get to sing the entire thing).

Then they had us all step back while they deliberated. In the end they didn't keep any of us and thanked us for coming out. Then you had to have your wristband cut off and you were ushered out the loser exit (with plenty of company).

All I have to say about the experience is, "Check it off the list, Chalk it up to experience!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The tree that changed my life!

Nine years ago my family & the City of Orem planted this tree in memory of my brother, Grant Marcus Shields, who drowned in the canal very close to where it stands.  I continue to be amazed at this tree. It started out so small and we didn't know if it was going to be able to endure the winters but here she is and she is HUGE! Not only did she endure but she stands as a testimony of hope for me and my family.

After my brother's death it became very difficult to drive down Center Street (this tree is just before River Woods-if you know the area) every day and have to see the canal. So when we planted Grant's tree it became a symbol of hope for me. Instead of always seeing the canal I saw his tree. Through the years this tree has changed my life!

If given the choice to visit my brother's grave or sit in the shade of his tree--I choose this tree. Though he has a beautiful grave and it is next my grandpa--it is a symbol of his death. This tree reminds me of his life and the resurrection.

 So today I bought some clippers and some flowers and got to work. I cut away all the weeds, turned the bark over, and planted the flowers.  Then I sat in the shade of Grant's tree and ate lunch. I thought about my brother, my family, the many blessings I have, and of course one of the biggest lessons my brother's death taught me.  Grant's sudden death on Pioneer Day 9 years ago taught me that you never know when someone might leave your life. It is always good to say what you feel, forgive, and let the people around you know you love them.

Here is the little park and walkways that were made in memory of my brother as an Eagle Scout project soon after his death. 

It is very peaceful and the antithesis of the churning waters of the canal above.

You can't read the plaque but it reads about my brother and how this little space is dedicated to him.  I  can't help wonder sometimes what he would be doing with his life today. 

I miss ya little brother and I can't wait to see you again!

Shumway Lu'au

I got invited to the Shumway family Lu'au and it was great! I also got to try pig skin--hey what's a real Lu'au without the pig and dancing.!  Thanks Shumways for inviting me!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Strayer Adventures

Chelsea's life in a bag for 1 year!

My sister Chelsea and her husband Mike are off for some amazing adventures before they settle in Ghana for a year. Here is there tentative schedule:

July 16th-19th: Trieste, Italy and the coast of Slovenia

July 20th-27th: 7-day Mediterranean cruise: Italy, Greece, and Croatia

July 27th-29th: Venice, Vernona, Milan

July 30th-31th: Cinque Terre

August 1st-5th: Interlocken, Lucern, Bern, and Zurich Switzerland

August 5th-8th: South of France

August 9th-13th: Spain

August 13th-Summer 2009: GHANA!

Mike's life in a bag for 1 year!

Planning for Ghana

Jessica, Mike, Chelsea--Me (not pictured), Marcus, & Natalie.

Since Chelse & Mike were in town before they took off for their European trip and then move to Ghana--we decided to have a little Ghana planning meeting. There are a few more of us that will be going to Ghana (right Sagers, Erica, & Briton??) but they couldn't all make the meeting.

We are all planning to meet Chels & Mike in Ghana in January (yes we are planning 6 mo ahead of time--there is a lot to do). We had a great time talking about what we needed to bring, what we wanted to get donated, what we had to do to prepare, and so forth.

I made a site--will post more later about this--for people to donate to our cause, we talked to Chelsea about getting Visa's, shots, what to pack, etc., and we all got excited about our adventures in Africa to come.

Then we went to SLC to meet with a good friend of Chelsea's, Oko(one of his many names), from Ghana. There he continued to tell us about Ghana.

Kylee, Oko, & Chelsea

Here we all are with Oko talking to him about the do's & don't in Ghana.


My cousins, my sister, her husband, & I got together to play a little ROCK BAND!! The following pictures show you just how into it we all were. Man, we take music and rockin' out seriously!

Chelsea on the guitar

Marcus on vocals

Me on the drums (love to drum!)

Natalie on the bass

Even though we were all concentrating on each of our instruments we had a blast!

I have to say that Chelsea challenged everyone to the drums and I thought I did a great job with a 94 % and even Chelsea was a bit worried. But...she battled back with a 94% and wins the battle of the drums (I did have a longer note streak than her).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

American Idol

If you were going to audition for AI what song would you sing?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Family, Food, & Fireworks

Instead of a bunch of pictures throughout this post I made a video of all of them put together at the end of this post!

I had a great time in California w/ my entire family!
Here is a quick rundown:

My mom & sister, Camryn, came and picked me up at the SFO airport (cheaper to fly in here than in Sacramento). It was late when I got home so I just went to bed. 

Most of Wednesday was spend just hanging out with the family. A bunch of us went to "Hancock" the movie--it was good. Then we just played around and had a really chill night!

I have been looking forward to going to Quintet for a few years now--ever since my dad & brother went and loved it. So today we all got up really early, packed our stuff up, made lunches, packed water for the hike, and loaded into our 12 seater van.  We headed to Quintet, CA to enjoy a day at the University Falls.  The hike up wasn't too bad and it was a glorious day for a swim. It was great to go down the rock slides. We took some great pictures of my family going down one rock slide all together, of us jumping off this ledge all together, and so forth. We even got my mom to go down a few of the rock slides on her stomach! We had a lot of fun and I recommend this to anyone who is around the area!

Happy Independence Day!  Today we woke up early and got ready for the day. We made sandwiches and  headed for New Hogan Lake. This is where my family has been going to celebrate 4th of July for years. I went jet skiing for a while and had a blast.

That night we went over to friends of my family. The Kidd's house was huge and great! We ate food, we watched a little "Planet Earth", and of course we had fireworks! I didn't know but I guess they have this crazy tradition of having Roman Candle Wars. This is where the teenagers each get a Roman Candle and they light them all at the same time and then just ran around in the dark like crazy trying to hit each other. Seriously though--it is hilarious to watch but crazy. One of the kids ended up bleeding from being hit! I got a short video of some of our illegal fireworks display:

My mom made these delicious homemade scones w/the works as toppings. Then My family sat down to watch old family home videos (this has become a family tradition for FHE since I moved away). It was so fun to look back on the past, to laugh our faces off, to see my little brother Grant again, and to just spend time all together!

That night (way too quick of a trip) my dad drove me back to San Francisco to fly back to Utah. the trip was too short but it was great to be with my family! All in all I think it was a fantastic Family Reunion!

Here's the Roman Candle Wars Clip:

And here is an iVideo (my first) that I made of my trip: