Saturday, August 04, 2007

A letter to the editor re. the American Idol experience

I'm not sure if this letter is going to get published in the newspaper, so I'm going to post it here for what it is worth:

The producers of American Idol may "have it down to a science [as a TV show billed] as a talent contest," but they have a lot to learn about processing thousands of people through their gamut of auditioning. Contestants were told to line up at 5 a.m. on Saturday to register and get wristbands to enter Qualcomm Stadium on Monday, but people who obediently waited six hours to get their wristbands Saturday and then arrived promptly at 5 a.m. on Monday still had to wait to until 8:30 a.m. to enter the stadium with people who had just rolled into the parking lot. Then, despite their early registration, they were not necessarily the first to audition. Apparently there was some SNAFU in the order of the tickets distributed at registration as well as the producer's directions for escorting contestants to the initial judges tables. Some people who registered Monday morning without waiting in line at all got to audition before noon. Additionally, the Idol caterers ran out of stadium food in the afternoon (nachos, $6; soda, $4; audition experience, priceless). Contestants and friends did not have in and out privileges for the stadium, so by sundown thousands of hungry, thirst, overheated people were as excited to finally have their seating section's turn to audition as they were to actually sing.

As a former high school teacher and journalism adviser I have helped to organize several conventions and competitions for thousands of teens and adults, and I must say that any event organizer should know better than to frustrate already anxious artists with a lack of access to nourishment and clean bathroom facilities. American Idol may "discover" America's next idol with their TV show focus, but their organization skills and care for contestants leave little to idolize.

No comments: