1. Thursday, May 22, 2008

    my favorite part of american idol last night? 

    carrie underwood trying to flash america

    btw richard rushfield was behind the scenes all week at idol, first time any journalist was given so much access, and he writes about it wonderfully. A peek:

    “Really girls,” cries choreographer Mandy Moore. “I have only an hour and 15 minutes left with you and you have 75 hours until the show.”

    Chastened, but still effervescent with mirth, the room falls silent. “Okay,” Mandy said, “we’re going to go on a field trip.” She led them through the studio’s hallway to a cold, dark, fire escape-like stairwell, making them line up on either side and practice walking down while singing the chorus of “She Works Hard for the Money.”

    “The reality is, on stage, we’re a lot wider. We just need to see you walk down the stairs into the screen,” Mandy tells them, demonstrating how to fan out across the tiny landing when they reach the bottom.

    “I know you’re tired, but ladies, when you walk down stairs you need to turn your body and step. It’s not a profile thing. Now let’s try it again.

    “OK, blondes, no chewing gum this time!” shouts gravelly-voiced rocker contestant Amanda Overmyer.
    Back in the studio, the ladies spent the next hour remorselessly drilling, dissecting and perfecting every step of the two group numbers they will perform.

    Given that the group members are not trained dancers but singers, Moore says she attempts to keep the steps fairly simple. “I try to push the envelope on what I can give them. I don’t want them to look silly on stage, but I want them to do more then step, toe, step, and I know they can handle more.”

    Despite the simplicity of the basic steps, a mind-numbing amount of tweaks and adjustments are integrated. Just watching, one reels attempting to keep track of all that is occurring in the number, and wonders how the performers manage to learn all this, on top of learning the vocals, worrying about costumes, interviews and everything else that fills the life of an Idol contestant.

    Breaking into two groups, they rehearse filing past each other to the music. “Pass into each other and remember, girls, you’re going to be in heels, so when you move, make it like this,” she demonstrates a broader step. “1-2-3-4. Four steps will get you there.”

    The whole thing is pretty interesting, read it here.

    And yes I also liked when the USC marching band and song girls showed up during one of the comedy bits.