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It may have been a good day for Simon, the flamboyantly crusty judge on Fox's hit show American Idol, but it was a great day for Dish when Paula, Randy, and Simon (last names not required) agreed to sit down and talk with us recently. Today the judges are in Nashville, Tennessee, known, aptly as Music City USA, to attend one of the American Idol open audition days.

The American Idol auditions are truly open-if you have the heart and stamina to spend the night in a tent or sleeping bag to be certain that you get on line early enough to receive a coveted wristband plus a number that identifies you as a contender. Contestants learn quickly that if you snooze you lose, since for the 5,000 or so hopefuls that show up, only 1,500 have the opportunity to try out. Doors open at 8 am exactly- all numbers are gone by 9-and everyone else is turned away, perhaps to travel to the next city to try again, this time lining up a little earlier.

First round auditions take place for two days before the judges arrive; when they do, it's to see the cream of this particular local crop. Any nerves among these hopefuls? Says Falon Jones from Memphis, TN, "I just pretend the judges are MY audience, it's opening night and I'm just doing another show!" Says Shauna Nicole Young, who traveled from St. Louis, "I'm just excited. I love singing so much. I'm ready for them to see what I can do. 30 seconds is not that long, since there's really no telling what they' re looking for." Says John Smith from Birmingham, AL, "Yea, man, you better believe I'm happy! I feel privileged that I got a wristband and honored that I had the chance to try out." / Issue 29 - September 2018
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