‘American Idols’ in actionWritten by Ashley Johncola | | email@example.com
Lights … camera … action!
That’s basically how it began at 5 a.m. March 11: the alarm sounded, lights in my room went on. I hastily got myself ready to go and after collecting my digital camera, flip camera and huge news cameras from the FOX Toledo station, reporter Allison Brown and I were ready for authentic Hollywood action! But first we had to get there.
Luckily my wonderful friend, Renee was willing to drive us at 8 a.m. to the airport, where we somehow managed to get all of our personal luggage, along with two gi-normous camera cases and one tri-pod case to the baggage check point. If I didn’t have any notable upper-body strength before, I certainly do now.
We were extremely nervous because the reason for our L.A. adventure was to interview the Top 12 “American Idol” contestants at a Red Carpet Party event that night. However, after a connection flight in Phoenix, Arizona, we were not set to land at LAX until a little after 3 p.m., Pacific Time. One delay could potentially ruin, well, everything.
Thankfully, we arrived in Phoenix in time to get Red-Carpet-Ready in the ladies restroom. Dresses and heels on and curls and makeup in place, we rushed to the gate so fast, Allison still had the tags on her dress, and everyone in the airport made sure we knew it.
When we finally boarded the L.A. flight, we decided to be truthful when people asked why we looked like crazy people: “We are bringing fashion back to the skies,” we said.
Anyway, we finally land, and much like the Miley Cyrus song, “We hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream” of getting to the event on time, “and [our] cardigan[s]” (except we didn’t have cardigans because it was 70 degrees and sunny and, well, we were hot from carrying all of our stuff). We rushed to the baggage claim, thought we saw George Clooney (we didn’t), managed to “jump in the cab, here [we were] for the first time,” and with amazing luck, the L.A. traffic didn’t stop us from getting to our breathtaking hotel in Universal City, where we “looked to the right and [we] see the Hollywood sign,” along with the sun setting over the Hollywood hills and the spinning Universal Studios globe in the distance!
It’s now 5:15 p.m., the venue was 20 minutes away (as is everything in L.A., and seeing as we had to be at the event venue at 5:45 p.m., we ran (again, in our heels) to catch another cab.
With only moments to spare, we walked through the doors and onto the blue Red Carpet (yes, the Red Carpet was a lovely shade of “Idol” blue). We were ushered into our itty-bitty press corner, and surrounded by several reporters from around the country. At this point, Allison and I were so relieved that we made it in time, we barely had a chance to catch our breath before the Top 12 came strolling in along with other FOX stars like “Glee’s” Cory Monteith and past Idols like Justin Guarini. It was awesomely surreal and absolutely crazy! Honestly if we didn’t have the camera footage (along with flip cam footage and still images that I keep looking at), I wouldn’t believe that it happened. Sorry to bring it back to Miley, but it really was “so crazy” because everybody did seem “so famous” (she really epitomized the L.A. vibe with that song).
Not only was this one of the coolest things I have ever experienced, but also it was amazing to interview such a great group of people. The energy and excitement surging from the Idols combined with my own enthusiasm just created an ideal atmosphere, and allowed Allison and I to get great interviews and footage!
I feel like I personally know all of the Idols, and since my new impressions of them have made me ten times more obsessed with the show, I think it’s essential that I share my quick review of each of them with you:
Didi Benami is really sweet and nice (and she complimented me on my hair before the interview even started); Crystal Bowersox is cool, confident and was excited to talk to people from her area; Lacey Brown is stylish and fun; Lee Dewyze is chill and acted slightly shocked to be there; Andrew Garcia is fun and energetic; Casey James is way more shy than I would have thought, but very sweet; Aaron Kelly is polite (he called me “ma’am”); Michael Lynche is down to earth and awesome to be around; Siobhan Magnus is really cute and friendly; Paige Miles was also in shock, but super excited to be there; Katie Stevens is very well spoken and mature for her age; and finally Tim Urban is very sweet and happy, which you could totally see in his eyes. To see more on the Top 12, check out our exclusive footage on FOX Toledo and FOXtoledo.com in the upcoming weeks!
The carpet cleared out and the Idols moved toward their well deserved after party, while we packed up our cameras and headed back to our awesome hotel for much needed sleep and food.
The following days also felt like a sunny 75-degree whirlwind because we saw and did so much. We shot footage in front of Universal Studios, the Kodak Theater and at the top of Mulholland Drive (where you can see all of the beautiful Hollywood Hills). Plus, one of the great things about Hollywood is four out of five people want to be movie stars and have absolutely no problem being on camera, making for additional excellent video content!
I was also fortunate enough to do some shopping on Rodeo Drive, explore The Santa Monica Pier, The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and the Venice Beach Boardwalk (all in one day).
Unfortunately, FOX Toledo did manage to book us a return flight … so we had to come back. But it was an amazing experience and probably one of the coolest and most beautiful business trips of all time. I’ll leave you with more famous Miley Cyrus lyrics … Los Angeles, California, I love you and, “I can’t wait to see you again!”
Ashley Johncola is the Face of FOX Toledo. “American Idol” airs on FOX Toledo.