Last Wednesday, students gathered in the UC fourth floor lounge for an American Idol Viewing Party, centered on the reality show’s auditioning episode in San Francisco. Fox TV sponsored the event, along with viewing parties at other San Francisco universities.
ASUSF Voices hosted the event. Their a cappella group Six sang during the commercial breaks.
SLE held a raffle and a brief trivia contest. Fox sponsored the gift bags for the raffle.
Philip Daniel Santos, a junior nursing major and the publicity director for Voices, ran the trivia contest. An Idol fan, Santos has seen every season of the show.
Santos auditioned for the show a few years ago in Los Angeles, when American Idol’s popularity inspired American Idol Jr. “I’d like to audition again, but when I see the tens of thousands of people auditioning on TV, and they can only take fifty or so from each city they visit, it’s kind of discouraging,” he said.
SLE also provided free pizza, snacks and drinks. About a dozen students trickled into the lounge prior the event. When the complimentary pizza arrived, the number of students doubled.
During the episode, students giggled when the judges were unimpressed with an audition.
Jennifer Lopez and Steve Tyler have replaced veteran judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. Randy Jackson is the only original judge that still partakes in the show.
Nine thousand Bay Area locals and out-of-towners showed up at the Giants’ home stadium in AT&T park for the San Francisco auditions. The episode was shot in November.
Sophia Baptista, a senior psychology major, found the entire event “very entertaining. . . It’s cool to see (the reality show being filmed) in San Francisco.”
Among the most talented featured singers were a young father who had overcome Tourette’s with music and a quirky girl with a cartoonish yet soothing voice, who could also play guitar. “She was my favorite, the girl with the voice,” said Baptista.
Strange moments still appeared in the show, from a Ukrainian immigrant who posts Youtube videos of herself singing ballads while soaking in the shower, to a man who came to the auditions decked out in an elaborate racecar costume.
Fox took advantage of shooting on location, with iconic shots of the Golden Gate Bridge at all times of day, the city skyline, and, at the end, some triumphant auditioners waving their golden tickets to Hollywood while hanging off cable cars.
Katie Pena, a graduate intern for SLE, was pleased with the student turnout at the American Idol Event.
“The idea of these events are to provide students with opportunities to engage with other students at USF,” said Pena. “I was excited to see many students come out and participate in a collaboration between USF and Fox.”
Pena also said she was “happy to see students enjoying themselves and taking the time off to watch the show in our lounge on campus, as if there were home on their couch. We consider USF our home and want our students to feel the same way.”
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