In fact, one of my fondest memories of that day is hearing the reverence in the voice of a stage-mom behind me as she scolded her son for being disrespectful in that hallowed home of America's team. (true story). This tale also bears repeating for the many well-meaning folks who have encouraged me to audition for the crazy reality-TV spectacle that is "American Idol." In addition to musical differences that I have with the style of the show, the audition process, which I've endured twice, is not really worth a third try. Anyway, without further ado, here is my "flashback" blog post:
In 2006 I made the time-consuming journey from Fort Worth, TX to San Antonio for the American Idol auditions. I did not make it onto network television, but I was happy to say that I had at least tried. However, when people asked if I would do it again, I insisted that I would only return if the auditions were held in my back yard.
This year  the auditions were held at the Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadium in Irving, TX, which meant a short twenty minute drive from the apartment I share with my husband. Bound by my own promise I once again subjected myself to the ridiculous process that can only be described as "American Idle."
The day of the auditions I arrived at Texas Stadium at the officially recommended time of 5:00 in the morning. My experience from the previous year told me that I did not really need to be there until about 7:00; nevertheless, I showed up at 5 to be with a friend. Oh, would that I had followed my instinct!
Our position in line was toward the middle of the vast throng of Idol hopefuls that encircled the entire stadium. We did not move until about 7:00, at which point there were still newcomers taking their place at the end of the line. Then tragedy struck: the line we were in was split in two, allowing for entry at opposite ends of the stadium. This meant that we were now at the end of the line, and the late comers were getting to go in first.
We stood. We shuffled ahead at irregular and lengthy intervals. We waited. The sun rose above the unattractive skyline of Irving. Eight o'clock, the appointed time for the auditions to begin, came and went. The sun rose higher, and we waited. We were a motley assortment of humanity: rock stars and rappers; drag queens and divas; the poor and the privileged – all united in a grumbling, sweaty, stinky mass. Still the sun climbed higher into the sky.
The outrageous wait was due mostly to the need to search every bag for food and confiscate it. Most everyone had brought food, as the official American Idol rules indicated it would be all right to have it. However, the rules also stated that some stadiums would not allow food, forcing us to purchase five dollar nachos and three dollar bottles of water.
As the cause of our delay became clear people began to frantically remove all the food from their bags while still in line. But instead of walking a short distance to dispose of their food in trash cans, most left it on the ground. So as those of us in the back of line advanced, we found ourselves trudging through empty wrappers, boxes, and bags, as well as half-eaten food of every assortment. Some left entirely full containers of good food, now beginning to decay in the smoldering August sun.
The security guards were actually patting people down now and were splitting the line by gender. I joked (perhaps rather tastelessly) that they could tell us we were going to "the showers" to be gassed, and we would have willingly believed such a promise; the seething, perspiring throng that we were.
Around 10:00 we made it inside the stadium. There the waiting continued in the sweltering heat. Located at regular intervals across the football field were ten tables covered with tents at which were seated ten American Idol producers. Contestants were divided into groups of four and sent to sing their hearts out for fifteen to thirty seconds in front of one of the producers. My group waited in the August heat until 8:00 p.m. to finally take our 15 seconds of stage time in front of an American Idol producer.
The judge for my group of contestants was a beautiful British blonde. "British is good," I thought, for I had decided to sing a selection from The Beatles' classic, "Hey Jude." When my group advanced to the next in line to sing, I watched as our judge smilingly put a terrible singer through to the next round. It was with that same sweetness that, after we had each laid a bit of our hearts bare in song there on the green turf of the football field, she told my group that none of us would make it through. I breathed a heavy sigh – not of disappointment, but of relief. Then, sunburned, dehydrated, and half-delirious with heat, I trudged up the ramp out of the Cowboys end zone into the light of the westering sun to search for my car and go home.