The Associated Press reports an estimated 15,000 American Idol hopefuls began arriving to Cleveland Browns Stadium on Tuesday, August 2at 6 am and planned to sleep out all night for a shot at tryouts Wednesday morning.
Cleveland was the first city in the country to host auditions for the Fox show’s fourth season to be aired early 2005.
“It’s worth every minute of it,” said Antonio Crane, a 27 year old from Wisconsin, who arrived in Cleveland on Monday.As temperatures climbed toward the high 80s, hopefuls who want to be the next Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard or even freshly crowned Fantasia Barrino, shaded themselves with umbrellas and waved fans while sitting on the heat-baked concrete outside the stadium. Armed with playing cards, bottled water and sleeping bags, participants geared up for hours of waiting.
The first person in line was Levi Morse, 17, of Gladwin, Michigan. He managed his feat by knowing the correct place to stand. Others had lined up at the wrong gate.
His mom, Shelley Morse, said she had to get time off from each of her three jobs to accompany her son to the auditions. Participants under 18 must have a legal guardian with them.
“He’s going to be the next American Idol,” she said.
Idol producers will decide who in the crowd will report to a second round of tryouts Thursday. Then executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick will pick who auditions for judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell on August 14 and 15 at a city hotel.
The celebrity trio will decide who gets to go to the Hollywood phase of the auditions, where a dozen finalists are subjected to audience telephone votes.
Participants throughout the line clapped and cheered for the other would-be contestants as they performed for the television cameras or practiced aloud.
Check your TV listings for the next American Idol when 2005 comes around.