american idol madness

August 2, 2011

Last Friday, the TV show American Idol came to Denver to hold auditions at the Invesco Field at Mile High, the stadium of the Denver Broncos. The Post assigned me to shoot the wanna-be idols lining up and waiting outside the stadium. I had to get there early, at 6 a.m., because the doors were supposed to open at 8 a.m. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine what I saw when I arrived.

Over 6,000 frenetic pseudo-musicians camped out around the arena, shrieking hysterically whenever they saw a camera to attract the TV team’s attention. Some of them had come as early as 3 a.m. in order to be the first in line. The luckiest ones made the cut-off for a crowd of roughly 4,000 people who were rounded up and perched together like sheep on the stoops of the stadium’s south side. A guy with a bullhorn on a ladder made them yell and cheer and shout ridiculous slogans at the camera. It was the absurdest display of mass hysteria I had ever seen, and even though I had fun shooting it, I was glad when it was over and I could finally get out of there.

Potential contesters cheer in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Potential contesters cheer in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Potential contesters line up in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Potential contesters line up in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Miranda Barness plays Ukulele while waiting in line for the American Idol Season 11 auditions at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Miranda Barness plays Ukulele while waiting in line for the auditions.

Potential contesters line up in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Cheerleaders fire up the crowd of potential contesters before the American Idol Season 11 auditions at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Cheerleaders fire up the crowd of potential contesters.

Sebastian Smith, second from right, tries to attract the attention of a camera team before the American Idol Season 11 auditions at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011. "I'm gonna be the next American Idol," he screamed. "Not these guys! Me!"

Sebastian Smith, second from right, tries to attract the attention of a camera team before auditions. "I'm gonna be the next American Idol," he screamed. "Not these guys! Me!"

Potential contesters cheer in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Denver Broncos mascot Miles watches as cheerleaders fire up a crowd of potential contesters in front of Invesco Field at Mile High before the American Idol Season 11 auditions in Denver, Friday, July 29, 2011.

Denver Broncos mascot Miles watches as cheerleaders fire up the crowd of potential contesters.


A short post scriptum: The first shot is also the one that finally got me my first front page play at the Denver Post:

The front page of the Denver Post from Saturday, July 30, 2011.

Filed under: USA

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