by Audrey Colantonio
Believe it or not, American Idol is watched widely throughout Canada every season. Although we can’t vote, we become fans of contestants nonetheless. This season, my favourite was Casey James. Aside from Casey, I also liked Lee, Crystal & Didi.
When tickets became available, I rallied up my Mother and her four sisters to buy seats for the Toronto show on September 9th. In the meantime, I reacquainted myself with my twitter account and started following the idols religiously, watching and reading daily interviews and performances that would come out. I increasingly felt the need to watch the idols sooner! I just could not get enough; seeing them online and on TV just wasn’t cutting it anymore. September seemed so far away, so I ended up buying two tickets to the Hamilton show on July 5, literally a couple of weeks before the show and scored great seats.
My husband graciously escorted me to the show. (Let me just say what a wonderful husband I have to put up with my Casey James obsession and constant twitter parties.) I was dressed in my special denim and blue outfit to support my idol of choice. Armed with my little camera and special gifts for a couple of the idols, I was determined to meet them. Initially, I was intimidated at the thought of fighting the crowds and long waits, but my desire to meet them exceeded that intimidation and I decided to do it. Why not?! For once in my life I was going to do something totally out of character; I would go to the concert, have a loud fun time and meet the idols afterward. With the support of my fantastic new twitter friends, I slowly began gathering information on how to go about meeting the idols.
We arrived about an hour early and beat the crowds. I purchased my idol head shot and a glow stick and set off for our seats. We also scoped out nearest exits for the Meet and Greet after the show. We went to the show primarily to watch Casey, but were pleasantly surprised with each and every performance by each of the top 10 contestants. Everyone did a fantastic job, and dare I say sounded much better live than on the show. Perhaps it was the relief of not having to face harsh judge critiques or perhaps they had honed their skills. Whatever the case, they all did a great job!Throughout the evening, we took hundreds of photos. For many of the contestants, it was their first time in our great country. I was saddened that the Toronto concert was officially cancelled that same day, but relieved that I had purchased the Hamilton tickets so at least I got to see them once live.
As the audience warmed up, the crowd got progressively more excited. By the time Casey came out, the aisles started filling up and I rushed the stage for a chance to see him jam on his guitar close up. I got some great shots, screamed my lungs out and then got sent back to my seat by security. We had row 12, dead centre seats. I repeatedly stood up, swinging my glow stick around like a lasso, screaming like a little girl with Bieber fever. It was hilarious. What was even more hilarious is that people around me might as well have been sleeping by comparison. A part of my youth came back to me that night.
At the conclusion of the show, the idols did a joint number. By the end of the performance, I dragged my patient and helpful husband and we ran for the barricades which were on the second level out by the smoking area. I managed to get a spot immediately behind some girls that were right along the barricade. It must have been the hottest most humid day of the year so far, but with a few minutes all of us were squished like sardines waiting for the idols to make their appearance. Let’s just say that a few people were ripe. I was not lucky enough to win the text contests to win the indoor Meet and Greet passes, so I had to wait with everyone else outside. I didn’t mind; I already made up my mind that I was going to meet Casey James. Previous to that, I had been satisfied with a few tweets from him, but now I was ready to see him live and in person and actually say words to him that he heard with his ears!
Surprisingly, about 30 minutes later the idols started trailing out. They did their rounds, posed for pictures and managed to sign everyone’s posters, including mine. Didi was very sweet, Big Mike was chuckling, I asked Lee if he was hot with his leather jacket on, and he replied a big ‘YES’ then eventually took it off. I thanked Andrew for his tweets and videos and he smiled. Katie told us she had the same camera as us and stopped to pose for us. They were right about Tim, he is the nicest guy ever. He acknowledged everyone who said something to him, and really spoke to them. Siobhan took a picture with a little girl also named Siobhan beside us. Aaron was a sweetheart. Crystal was a little under the weather and sweating buckets, excited that she would get to see her son the next day. I gave her my gift (Canada flag, and suggested she start collecting flags from all the countries she plays in). She stopped, looked me right in the eye and smiled and gave me a genuine thank you. And last but not least, the guy I had come to see was approaching.
How appropriate to save ‘my’ best for last. As he came through the glass doors an immediate scream emerged out of many mouths. He put his hands up to block his face in a joking defense pose. As he was signing autographs, someone asked him how tall he was and he shrugged his shoulders. I knew the answer, so I just piped up and yelled out, “6’4”. I think I startled him and everyone else; people started laughing. My husband was laughing the hardest.
I felt badly that Casey was trying so hard to ensure he signed everyone’s poster, and here I was about to ask him to stop and take a picture with me, but I had to do it. I felt compelled to do it, so I did! In the confusion, he wanted to make sure he had signed my Casey poster (which he had already). I gave him my gift (same as Crystal’s) and he thanked me for it. I leaned back over two girls in front of me to get as close to the barricade as possible and he leaned forward and bent down about a foot so our heads were beside each other and then ‘CLICK’ I got my pic!
We booted out of there, armed with digital photos, signatures and pure happiness! It was a night I will not soon forget 🙂
More stunning photos on Flickr: