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Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
Maple Leaf (8:00PM)
Feel the Mardi Gras Indian beat with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
Rebirth Brass Band
Crescent City Farmers Market
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
One New Orleanian's Journey Through American Idol Auditions
Hoping to strike Joshua Ledet twice, American Idol made its way to the Big Easy for auditions this week. Once NoDef Correspondent E.J. Ruane had this information, she realized her obligation as an aspiring singer. She dutifully registered, then prepared to rise with the Idol dreamers on the morning of Tuesday, July 17. This is her story.
American Idol enforced a strict, 5 a.m. audition call. By that time, there was a significantly enthusiastic mass gathered at New Orleans Arena. Already, people were strumming guitars, warming up their pipes, and fervently discussing their passion for the Seacrest. The sun was not up. Luckily, good spirits abounded.
Jolly police officer, D.A. Pratt, was the officer on duty for auditions. He inspired Idol hopefuls, but also, the greater city of New Orleans. During the Idol wait, Pratt talked about Project Ball.
“I started Project Ball a youth football league that will cut the murder rate in half," he said. "We work with athletes from Tulane, LSU and the Saints to mentor children ages 8-21."
Seventh Ward resident Myia Rene was more interested in her own cause.
“I’m gon' win girl! Jarion too—my sistah from anotha mista, said the Dillard University (or the "Dear Lord") student. "And to answer your question no, I’m not drunk, this is just my natural high."
Surveying the crowd, people reppin' for New Orleans were standout. Another was Athena, who represented the Bustout Burlesque troupe. She had refreshing advice for those auditioning for Idol, and Bustout Burlesque (August 4th)!
“You gotta be just a little vain," she said. "I’m a professional performer. So I’m not just singing—I am going to perform.”
These three characters conjured up a line from local rap legend, Lil Wayne: “If I had one guess, then I guess I’m just New Orleans." Amid all the made-for-TV trappings, the assembled masses represented this unique city in a positive way.
The Idol Facade was approaching. Three hours of waiting in the early-morning New Orleans sun. Only the strong survived: talk of "This is unbearable" (it was 8:30am), was rampant. Once inside the Arena, there were more encounters with diversely vibrant New Orleanians and Louisiana residents.
Mary Williams, Centerplate employee, took pity on the media.
She generously offered a press pass--one free hot dog -- providing strength to sustain the patient vigil of the American dreamers.
The halls were filled with the competitive Idol dreamers. Men serenaded each other on guitar. Stage moms and dads praised or chided their hopeful Amercian Idols. Girls belted out tunes with groups of newfound friends. One more rendition of “Rollin in the Deep” and it was likely the hot dog would resurface.
After major production fluff (“Alright Idol people, when we count to three you need to let go to this Zydeco Band! 1,2,3….AND CUT!), contestants were herded onto the court.
Then, American Idol fixture, Ryan Seacrest appeared. The crowd went wild.
“For some reason you are here," he said. "The judges don’t care, we are looking for potential.”
As the day unfolded, it became obvious that American Idol/FOX was not just looking for potential, but for a certain “look." Most notable were the spikey-heeled girls (Muses!?), masked men, and chicken suits prioritized for audition position. The rest of the riff-raff would be called, in order, by section number. Each section would take an hour.
“A.I. New Orleans” will start at section 109. My ticket section was 117. Great.
As the hour drew near, Gilbert Moses Jefferson, head of security for the Blue Nile, gave a shout. He recognized nervousness, but assured, “I know this business, and hard work pays off”.
Finally it was my time to shine. Precise instructions were given: “You need to have your ticket in your left hand and paperwork in the right!”
Contestants descended the stairs and made way to the court, the hype was palpable. The megatron was hypnotizing with its rotating, American Idol symbol. I coped with headphones, instant shoe removal and a loner dance off. FOX workers then ushered contestants up to the judges table. Here it goes:
I sang "Gravity," by Sara Bareilles, for about 45 seconds. After hitting the high note, the judge abruptly called for a stop. He sized us all up, looked at our “About Me", and as I started to grin (I know whats coming: freedom!), he delivered this half finished sentence, “You all have great voices, but you're just not the the caliber of…..”.
The American Idol experience was finally over. Ultimately, I'm okay with the corporate rejection. I'd rather hang with the likes of Blue Nile and Bustout Burlesque than be run by Hollywood, anyway.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
Assistant Managing Editor
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