Home » Journalism, Lifestyle

Seeing Adam Lambert live at the ‘Idol’ finale

24 July 2010 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on SDNN

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mara Fortin and Judy Shuta of San Diego traveled to Los Angeles on Tuesday to watch Adam Lambert sing in the final showdown of “American Idol.”

Lambert performed against Kris Allen of Conway, Ark., in the last competition at downtown L.A.’s Nokia Theater.

More than 88 million people voted after last week’s episode, with “only” a million votes separating the top two singers, Lambert and Allen. This Tuesday night, the two will sang their final numbers, before the audience votes. The winner will be announced Wednesday night in the show’s season finale.

Mara, 36, and her mother Judy, 61, have been following Lambert since the season began. Mara, a business woman, is also a graduate of Mt. Carmel High. Judy, an assistant to the principal at Mt. Carmel High School, has known Lambert since he attended school there.

They both met Lambert two weeks ago, when he visited his alma mater for a student meet-and-greet and sang for the students and the public.

They got complimentary tickets to attend Tuesday’s show, from a friend from Star 94.1.

Mara and Judy sent SDNN updates throughout the day, before they entered the Nokia Theatre, and after they came out. Follow them here.

“It’s very personal to me, since I knew Adam,” said Judy. “It’s fun to see one of our own on ‘American Idol’ and possibly win the title.”

“It’s the ‘American Idol’ journey,” said Mara. “We’re just here to have a good time and support Adam. He deserves to win.”

Their adventure will be updated with the most recent posted first:

9:13 p.m. Mara and Judy drive back to San Diego.

“We’re dead tired, our feet hurt, and we can’t wait to get home,” said Judy.

8:54 p.m. Mara and Judy recall other parts of the show

“Adam and Kris are very close,” said Mara. “After each set, one would leave the stage and the other would come to set up, and they would hug each other.”

The two singers had done a coin toss, to see who would sing first. Allen won, and he chose to go second. By doing so, the audience would end the evening on his song and the judge’s comments for him.

Carrie Underwood sang the final song. She had a leg injury and limped onto the stage, said Mara, but when the cameras rolled, she belted it out and the audience couldn’t tell she was injured. When she was done, “she was limping off the stage,” said Mara.

Mara had the opportunity to see Lambert up close, because he chatted several times with the woman standing next to her — Kristi Gill, who performed in several high school musicals with Lambert.

Judy got to go to the front row and see Lambert’s father, Eber.

Judy said that the theater was actually very noise, with people and cameras moving around. “There was noise everywhere,” she said. “The performance we could hear pretty well, as long as people weren’t screaming. It’s much clearer to watch on TV.”

After the show, they mingled with the audience and took photos with Lambert’s dad, Eber.

7:35 p.m. Mara and Judy recall the show

Mara said: “I was in the front, right in the middle. I was closer to the stage than the judges. If I wanted to, I could reach out and touch them (the singers).”

Mara was in the moshpit, where fans stand the whole show.

“When you’re standing in that pit, it’s all about the arms, big movements. The producer told us to ‘Move your arms, everything is exaggerated.’ You have to get your arms up in the air to look like there’s anything going on there,” said Mara.

Lambert and Allen sang three songs: one that they sang previously in the show. One that Idol producer Simon Fuller chose. And another that Kara DioGuardi co-wrote.

The first song was something each did well with early in the season, though Mara and Judy could not remember any of the songs. Simon Cowell gave the first round to Allen.

[For the first song, Lambert sang, "Mad World." Jackson called it an "A+" performance; DioGuardi called him an "extraordinary singer and incredible artist." But Cowell called it "over theatrical," like something from Phantom of the Opera.

[Allen's first song was "Ain't No Sunshine." The judges raved about his artistic style. Cowell said that Allen won round one.]

The second song, said Mara, Cowell said “Adam won by a million miles, it was way over the top, Adam nailed it.”

[For the second song, chosen by Fuller, Lambert sang "Change is Gonna Come." Jackson called it "unbelievable," DioGuardi called it the "best interpretation" of songs, Abdul called him a "superstar" and "iconic." Cowell said Lambert was "back in the game."

[Allen's second song, also chosen by Fuller, was "What's Going On." Jackson said: "Its a little light for this big ole room." DioGuardi praised his ability to "uplift people, make think, make them feel." Cowell said: "You did not grab hold of it and make it your own." He gave round two to Lambert.]

“When Adam sang his second song,” said Mara, “he did such a fabulous job, everyone went wild.” But with Allen, “it didn’t catch us, and we didn’t get as excited. During the commercial, the producer came over and told us, ‘Can you please get more excited? Wave your hands as much as possible.’”

[For the third, Lambert and Allen sang the same song, "No Boundaries." Cowell called Lambert "one of the best, most original contestants we've ever had on the show." Cowell told Allen, "You thoroughly, thoroughly deserve to be standing on this stage tonight." ]

“None of (the judges) predicted that Adam would be the winner, but the way they were congratulating them, it was clear that Adam would be the winner,” said Mara.

“With Kris, they kept saying, you deserve to be here. You should be proud, almost like a consolation. Simon said, ‘By the look on your parents’ faces, you should be proud,’” said Mara.

“With Adam, their comments were, ‘You’re so powerful, you have this amazing voice, you’re one of the most talented singers to be on this stage,’” said Mara.

“They felt that if America voted properly, Adam Lambert would be the American Idol for season eight,” said Mara.

Judy sat in the audience area, about eight rows back. She was amazed by the stars she saw at the show, including: Anthony Hopkins and Katie Holmes and her daughter.

She was also impressed by all the Idol finalists who were at the show. In all, the theater held some 7,000 to 8,000 audience members, she said.

But most all, Judy loved watching Lambert sing. “It was an absolutely thrilling performance.”

2:35 p.m., 3:50 p.m., 4:23 p.m.: Phones turned off.

“American Idol” audience participants must hand in their cell phones, cameras and other equipment when they enter the theater, said Mara, who has been to a show before.

Mara said earlier she would probably only take in a stick of lip gloss.

1:53 p.m.: Arrive in L.A.

Judy and Mara arrived in L.A. and parked at Staples Center.

“The L.A. traffic wasn’t exciting at all,” said Judy. “It’s quite a mess. It makes me glad I live in San Diego.”

Judy and Mara touch up their make-up. “We can’t bring that in,” said Judy. “We’re doing that in the car.”

Judy saw a lot of people walking down the street, forming a line.

Mara got on the phone to check where they were supposed to meet the other San Diego fans — the flag pole.

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.