Reality TV tryouts not so real, but fun to experience
November 2, 2009 —
America’s Got Talent, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance — which of these shows do you like to watch?\ There is no doubt that reality television is one of the biggest things going in television right now.
Every week, millions of viewers text in votes for their favorite singer, dancer or entertainer. This creates an interesting relationship with the viewer and performers. I recently had the opportunity to attend an audition for the show America’s Got Talent and see how much of reality TV is real.
The date was Sunday, October 18, and the place was the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. My wife, Heidi, was auditioning for the show.
We had received an e-mail five days before the auditions inviting us to participate. This made for a very quick decision to go to Chicago and commence in phase one of winning one million dollars.
The audition time was set for 9 a.m. Sunday. When we arrived at 7:30 a.m., there were already 403 performers waiting before us. All kinds of people were there: musicians with their hard-shell cases carrying guitars, saxophones and trumpets, hundreds of singers and dancers, men, women and children.
Our first dose of reality was the crowd shots, which open the show and give the impression that thousands of people are waiting to perform for the judges.
We were filmed in a crowd of, approximately 500 people, jumping up and down like fools yelling, “Chicago’s Got Talent!” At one point, the director split the group in the hallway to give the impression on camera that there were twice as many people. All of this was done to create the illusion of thousands of people waiting to perform before the celebrity judges, who were not even present at this stage of the game.
I do have to hand it to the America’s Got Talent staff. They were very organized and able to handle the assembled crowd and kept things moving smoothly.
I watched the cameras interview participants who were dressed in the most flamboyant clothes or were dressed most provocatively while the plain jane types, who I thought had more talent than the others, were overlooked by the cameras. “Is this reality?” I thought.
Around 3:30 p.m., Heidi’s group got called in to audition. She had her sights set on winning over the producers of the show to get a call back to perform before the real judges.
Ninety seconds of a cappella singing in front of the shows producers got the response, “Call backs are in January. Thanks for coming.”
This experience left me with one thought: reality TV is not so real, but it sure was a lot of fun.