Wednesday, February 11, 2009

American Idol Experience--Passholder Edition

So, as many of you know, I got to experience my very first Annual Passholder preview this past trip. It was a really neat thing and I'm so glad I got to take part in it.

In case you can't tell, I saw The American Idol Experience. Now, I know this attraction has been getting a lot of flack among those in the Disney community, but I am always one who likes to experience something and make my own call on what I believe the attraction is like. I try my hardest not to let others influence me on my decisions. This is the only way to be fair about the whole process.

And I'm glad I found out my own opinion on the attraction, because I liked it. I really thought it was well done. Keep in mind though, I am an American Idol fan. I do watch the show each season, so that may skewer my opinion just a bit and may be more of a cause for why I enjoyed this show so much. However, that being said, I do believe that those people who do like the show aspect at Disney's Hollywood Studios are going to really enjoy this one. And of course, it adds a new option of something to do to a park that really needed one.

So, let me take you through a typical American Idol Experience show. For those of you who don't want any spoilers, now would be the time to stop reading.

Ok...I'm guessing those of you who are still with me are interested in the details...good. I'll get to the good part. :) I saw the 4:00 showing, so while I didn't see the finale, I did get to see what most of the other shows will be like.

First things first, you walk into the studio and the first thing you notice is the set. It's AMAZING. It looks just like the real thing. It's so well done. Simply beautiful. There are lights everywhere, TVs positioned so that you can see them, a judges table on the right hand side, the 3 stools for the contestants on the left hand side, and a stage that is very nice sized.

After you experience the stage and get settled into your seat, the warm up host comes in. This helps to bring in the studio aspect back to DHS as well. He talks about some of the things you'll need to know, like how the voting works (there is a panel with numbers on your armrest. When voting starts, you click on the number of the person that you think should go on to the finale that night.) and he also helps get you excited about seeing the actual show.

Then the show starts just like it is like you are at the actual American Idol taping. Ryan Seacrest comes on with a short video welcome, spouting off those famous words "This is American Idol" and we're off and running.

The host then comes out and introduces us to the judges (and on my showing, one of them was from the Adventurer's Club...yay!) and we then get to know the contestants a bit.

For the show that I got to see, the contestants were 3 high school aged kids who were all visiting the parks.

From there, the first contestant sings. Now, the words are displayed in the back of the room on a big screen, in case someone gets nervous and forgets the lyrics, but the talent is all theirs. The judges then talk about the contestant.

Now, this is the thing that I thought was so great in this version. On the real American Idol, the judges give their opinions on how well they sang the songs, but give minimal critique on what they contestant can do to make it better. Sometimes they do, but most of the time they just say comments about how much they loved or hated the song. With this version, the judges actually do have singing backgrounds (usually) and they give their critiques, but they also do give advice on how they could make it better. This I thought was very helpful for contestants.

Of course, there was the Simon judge who did give kind of canned quippy one liners...but I didn't think they were too awful (meaning, they weren't too canned.)

Then the second performer sings, the judges critique and the same thing happens with the third performer. Before the performer sings, they usually have some sort of video to play beforehand for them. For my show, I saw last year's winner, David Cook give advice, a contestant and a little of her day in the park, and the crowd before the show cheering on said contestant.

After the singing transpires, there is the music video that is played featuring season 6 winner, Jordan Sparks. This was the only thing I thought that was unnecessary. I didn't like being told that I had to stand up and sing along. Plus, it prolonged the actual vote. I think it would have worked better if we had just gone straight into the voting, but that's just me.

After the cheesy video, they played back a quick clip of the singers singing to refresh our memories or allow us to see whether they really did as good of a job as we thought they did. Then we voted on the keypad. Voting lasts about 10 seconds. From there, they bring the contestants up to the stage again and they go over each one and talk about what the judges said about their performances. Then the results are brought out and the winner is announced (in standard American Idol fashion...drawn out.)

In was a really great show. I think that Disney will find the talent to perform in each show. (I mean, how hard is it to find 3 people to sing for I think 4 or 5 different shows each out of the thousands of people who visit the park each day.) I really think that all should give it a chance. It may just surprise you, much like it did me. This show will definitely be something that I will take in whenever I get the chance to when I'm down in Florida. It's not necessarily a must do...but if the opportunity is there, I will definitely go in and watch. Overall, I give the attraction a 4 out of 5 stars.


DebWDW said...

I think everyone will see it at least once. The real question will be who will go more than once during a trip? Since you are a fan, I will be very curious to see how often you will go next time you are there.
I think it will also be interesting to see what kiind of press we see the daily winners get.
Thanks for the recap!!

Unknown said...

Well, I definitely think I'll go back, personally. It has the repeatability factor, at least for me.

And who knows, maybe someday I'll get the courage to actually get up on stage...but that's a big maybe! lol!