‘American Idol’ auditions attract thousands to Target Center

by Elizabeth Cook

Angel Adams woke up at 3 a.m. Friday to get in line at the Target Center about 5 a.m., joining thousands who shared the dream of being the next “American Idol.”

Minneapolis was one of several audition cities in the United States where “American Idol” hopefuls showcased their talent – or lack thereof – to producers and judges.

While some took the audition seriously, several University students just wanted to be part of the hoopla.

Adams, a kinesiology sophomore, didn’t make it any further than the first audition, but wasn’t upset.

“I was fine,” she said. “I totally just wanted to go home and take a nap.”

For most, the process started Wednesday. Adams said she raced over to the Target Center to get in line for an orange wristband that would allow admission Friday when auditions started.

Adams said fellow ROTC Air Force members gave her a lot of grief for her bright orange wristband that stood out from her uniform.

“I got made fun of so bad,” she said. “That was the only problem with ‘American Idol’ and this school year.”

A stampede of people rushed through the front doors of the arena 6:30 a.m. Friday with arms proudly held above their heads to show admission wristbands and to wait inside for their 30-second chance at fame.

By 8 a.m. the doors were closed and all that was left outside was a line of empty water bottles, half-full coffee cups and food wrappers.

Adams said she showed up in jeans, a shirt and flip-flops, while others dressed outrageously.

Marketing sophomore Kyle Gamboni also said some people showed up in crazy outfits and with obnoxious attitudes.

He said one woman sitting behind him while waiting for auditions spent most of the time yelling at her husband to take pictures of her.

Another woman showed up on roller skates wearing hot pants, he said.

But Gamboni said he was expecting it, since he already dealt with a woman singing loudly the entire time he waited for a wristband on Wednesday.

“Three hours straight,” he said. “For a wristband.”

Some took the auditions seriously, while others, like Gamboni and Adams, said the point of trying out was for the experience.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to do it for fun,” Adams said.

Adams said she didn’t decide her audition song, “Have a Little Faith in Me,” until Thursday and didn’t start practicing until that night. She said she practiced for two hours.

Nervousness was a factor for Adams, but not until right before the audition, she said.

“It was kind of nerve-racking,” she said. “But I had nothing to lose.”

Gamboni said he never practiced the song he sang, Fastball’s “Out of My Head,” because he’s been busy with school and getting ready to move into U Flats.

Auditions followed a specific format. People auditioned in groups of four that would go up to one of the judge stations and have 30 seconds to sing their song, Gamboni said.

After everyone in the group performed, judges would say whether any one of them advanced to the next round, he said.

Gamboni didn’t make it, but didn’t get upset like some he saw who were crying.

“I think it’s kind of goofy to take it so seriously,” he said.

Anna Emerson, an education and art sophomore at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, also tried to make it big on Friday.

Emerson said she sang “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” by Bonnie Raitt and even though she didn’t advance, she got a compliment from one of the judges.

“She said I had a really good voice,” Emerson said.

She said she wasn’t upset about not making the cut because when her audition was over at 10 a.m., only two people had made it to the next round.

Adams said her favorite part of the experience was the chance to see “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. When he would say something, she said, the crowd would clap and scream.

If producers use part of the Seacrest clips on the show, Adams said, at least she could be on television.

“Yeah, that was me,” she said. “I’m in the crowd somewhere.”