Teen reflections: My 'American Idol' experience

Teen says Walt Disney World's new attraction is a little too like the real thing

August 31, 2010|By KATIE ZAK / Pulse correspondent
  • Ryan Seacrest, host of the TV show "American Idol," stands in front the American Idol Experience attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The American Idol Experience attraction puts people through the same rigors as the real show.
By Diana Zalucky,

After every episode of "American Idol," I would always imagine what it would be like to sing onstage in front of thousands of people.

The contestants on the show could do it, so why couldn't I? I already had plenty of practice strutting my stuff in front of my bedroom mirror while singing along into my hairbrush to Demi Lovato. I told myself that if the opportunity ever arose for me to have my shot at "American Idol" stardom, I would take it. What did I have to lose?

This summer my family took a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. One of the newer attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios is The American Idol Experience, and I was determined to audition for it. I wasn't expecting to get a record deal and superstardom out of it, but it was the next best thing to auditioning for the television show.


My mom took me over to the audition building as soon as we arrived in the park. We were told that the earlier you audition, the better, as the spots for the afternoon shows fill up quickly.

The man outside the door explained the audition process to me and handed me a list of songs that I was to pick from if I made it past the first round.

In all, there were three rounds I had to pass through before I would get to sing on the big stage. The more the man told me about the audition process, the more I realized that it really was just like the television show.

I was allowed one other person to accompany me for my audition, so I went with my mom into the first room. I was so nervous I could feel my stomach in my throat. At that point I wasn't even sure that I could get myself to make any noise, let alone sing.

The casting director in my assigned room asked me my name and what song I was going to sing.

"My name is Katie, and I will be singing 'Paparazzi' by Lady Gaga."

At least I was able to get that out.

She did the "Simon Cowell" by saying, "Off you go," and the floor was mine.

I got through the first verse and half of the chorus before she cut me off. Because she didn't even let me finish singing the chorus, I had a hunch that she was not going to pass me. She spoke to me about breathing technique and how private lessons would help to improve that.

While I appreciated all the advice she was giving me, I just wanted to know if I had made it to the next round.

Finally, after telling me that I had a good voice, she said, "I can't pass you to the next round because your technique needs some work."

While I kind of expected to hear that, I was still shocked. I had a good voice, but she couldn't pass me because of my technique? I was in the high school choir during my junior and senior year and had learned some basic breathing techniques already, but chances were that not everybody who passes through that audition room even had that.

This was an amusement park attraction for crying out loud! I was half expecting to make it through at least one round before I was cut. I guess I was wrong.

I realized that the attraction was exactly like the show. They were looking for people who would make a good act and could entertain an audience. Their vocal abilities were not their top priority.

When I entered the audition room, I was not wearing some ridiculous costume, I didn't sing some stupid song, and I was rather quiet because I was so nervous.

I finally came to the conclusion that even though I think it would be great to be "the next American Idol," I think I will stick to belting out my favorite tunes in the shower, where the population of America can't see just how ridiculous I can be!

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