Tuesday, July 13, 2004

"Gimme the Mike!" show taping

No, Give ME the Mike
Triple Door, Seattle

This American Idol ripoff show from KONG-TV combines the earnestness of local performers with the jaded cynicism of television producers.

Standing in line for a half hour DESPITE the fact that I was a VIP (turns out we were all VIPs), all I could think about was that if I made it back to my car in two hours, parking would only be 5 bucks. But if I was even one minute late, parking would be FOURTEEN dollars. Taping is supposed last an hour, and we're a 1/2 hour late getting in. Ooooh, the pressure.

Finally we make it into the performance area of the Triple Door. Remember The Backstage? The space kind of reminded me of that, except way shmancier. Like The Backstage if it were on a cruise ship.

Most of us are clearly here to support a contestant (Woooo!!! Holly!! ), a staff member ("um, we're here for Mimi"), or a judge (silence). The warm-up guy is the same person who hosted the first incarnation of this show to disastrous results. He at least has a few props handy, but then makes the HORRIBLE mistake of inviting up a "singer" from the audience to entertain the crowd before we get the show started. This gal ambles up to the stage and launches into an agonizing version of "Your Cheatin' Heart." Everyone applauds like crazy right after the first verse to encourage her departure, but then she actually grabs the mike BACK from the guy and keeps singing! Good lord! When she is finally done she is impervious to his mockery and our relief. She even plugs some independent film she's appearing in.

Warm-up Guy tries to get some more audience members up there for stupid human tricks, but it doesn't work - especially after that debacle. For some reason he notices a table behind me consisting of three 30s-40s women and one Mafia-looking guy. He tries to get the guy to come up on stage, but the Mafia guy says "no, I can't be on camera." I'm thinking he owned the joint and being on camera would be bad form, but dreaming up possible violations of the Witness Protection Program is way more fun.

John Curley is the host of this shindig, and the dude looks like he would rather be receiving electro-shock therapy. He has to stand there and occupy us while tech people check their cameras and levels and such. Wait. I'm sorry - is Curley actually speaking to an audience member, FROM THE STAGE, about the recent birth of her child? Is he REALLY commenting on the fact that breastfeeding is not allowed during taping as they do not want exposed nipples on camera? Is it TRUE that he is soliciting wagers from the rest of the audience on whether or not the child will cry and disrupt the taping? Is he FOR REAL asking this lady if she delivered naturally or had Pitocin administered? FOR CHRISSAKES, JOHN!

The show eventually starts - we are going "live to tape". It pretty much goes fine. The four contestants belt out their abridged versions of songs, the judges (corporate dude and sponsor James Rushing, fabulous editor of ROCKRGRL Magazine Carla DiSantis, and smarmy asswipe Bender) deliver swift and mostly accurate comments, and we audience members applaud as if startled by a dinosaur every time the two guys hold up the APPLAUSE signs.

They have to retake a couple of shots that Curley does with audience members, and every time they do a retake, Curley gets more cranky. Thank GOD the show only lasts for a half hour. Bender was mean to a VERY cute firefighter/singer, they were all too hard on the gal who did the Bonnie Raitt cover, and the person who should have won, won. And as a consolation prize to me, I got out of there fast enough to preserve my five buck parking! Yee-haw! The show will air July 19 on Kong (channel 6 in Seattle).

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