I am hoping for some video footage from Jeff at JeffLangeDVD.Com.
This is the full write up that I received…(One of the many Disney Newsletters I receive.)
Get Discovered at The American Idol Experience
Love entertaining live audiences? Think you’re destined for fame? Now aspiring singers can take a step closer to realizing their dreams as Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park in Florida unveils one of its most anticipated attractions ever, The American Idol Experience. Like its television counterpart, The American Idol Experience is a real-live talent search that awards top vote recipients from the finale show with a Dream Ticket to audition for the actual show. There’s no guarantee Guests will appear on television, but who wouldn’t want to take a shot at superstardom?
Imagineers worked with the show’s set designer, Andy Walmsley, to recreate the original stage down to every last detail. Laura Offerdahl, Event Producer at Walt Disney World Resort, describes the reaction from those affiliated with the show. “The Freemantle Media and 19 Entertainment people were amazed by how much our set looks like the real thing. Former Idol stars David Cook and David Archuleta felt like they were having déjà vu when they stepped on stage. Everyone’s been blown away by the set and that’s exactly what we were looking for. We wanted that wow factor because it’s the first thing Guests see when entering the theater. It’s just like what’s on TV.”
After perfecting the set, cast and crew rehearsed transitions between shows to avoid “bottlenecking” during the audition process. As one group of performers takes to the stage, another starts auditioning. A test run launched in January 2009 surprised everyone. “We expected serious singers to audition once we were officially opened … but even during the trial period, we saw some truly incredible talent! We’re completely bowled over every day and have had many amazing performances so far. People love it,” says Laura.
A blue carpet (reflecting the show’s color scheme) motorcade celebrated the official February 14 grand opening with an appearance by TV host Ryan Seacrest as well as live performances by past Idol stars including Jordin Sparks, Taylor Hicks, Carrie Underwood, David Cook, David Archuleta, Bo Bice, and Justin Guarini.
Hopefuls can participate in one of seven preliminary shows daily. The eighth finale show determines the Dream Ticket recipient. Even the queue is star-studded as videotaped celebrity greetings and performances provide fun photo opportunities for visitors. Cameras throughout the park capture random footage of Guests singing along with the videos, adding to the attraction’s interactive experience. Once inside Studio 2B, the ultimate Hollywood experience begins.
As Laura explains, “First, potential contestants meet with a casting director and sing to determine who moves on … those selected proceed to the Coke Lounge [a red room modeled after the TV show] and pick songs from a list that includes everything from Country, Disco, and Disney classics to Latin, Rock, Pop, and more. Video iPods help contestants practice lyrics before auditioning for the producer.”
Producers and casting directors coordinate the performers and song choices to make each show unique. “The producer’s not only trying to cast the shows for the day, but he’s trying to cast great shows. What makes a great show is one that offers a lot of diversity … not just in personality but also in song choice and type. You don’t necessarily want to have three ballads in one show, so he’s looking for an interesting mix of songs and personalities,” Laura continues.
In the producer’s room, Guests sing to their track while being recorded on camera, which is later edited into a video montage for the show if they’re chosen to perform at the theater. An hour before showtime, show coordinators bring contestants to the green room where they rehearse with iPods before going to hair, makeup, and a 10-minute vocal coach session where they receive help with breathing techniques, stage presence, engaging the audience, and whatever is necessary to make each Guest the best performer they can be.
Staging specialists explain the blocking (stage positions), lighting, microphone, lyric cues, and give Guests pointers before they run through their song on stage. Contestants wait backstage while a host warms up the audience and then the show begins. Performances are critiqued by three judges who have music backgrounds and the ability to judge vocal quality, not to mention one of the TV judges’ personality types — music industry insider (Randy), nurturing (Paula), or tell-it-like-it-is (Simon). The audience then chooses their favorite via an armrest voting device. Top vote recipients from each preliminary show compete in the finale show for the daily Dream Ticket, a front-of-the-line pass that guarantees contestants ages 16 to 28 an audition at one of the “American Idol” auditions around the country.
“What’s fun about our show is that anyone 14 and up can enter. People out of the ‘American Idol’ age range can come here and sing, which truly reflects the core of our company — making dreams come true. Those who aren’t inclined to perform can enjoy the show and vote for their pick. Past participants come back to tell us how cool and awesome it was … and I credit that to the cast and crew. They just make it an awesome Guest experience,” adds Laura.
So get ready for your close-up … Disney magic could make you a star!
This is a slideshow.