This is back when Simon, Randy, and Paula were still the judges.
  1. We had to go all the way downtown to the United Center the day before to register.
    I was with my friends Alyssa and Romi. Alyssa and I could kind of song-ish, and Romi was tone deaf. The line to register was relatively short, which I'm sure was because we were late. Late = a terrible position in line the next day, which means we'd be there from the crack of dawn to sunset.
  2. Romi wasn't old enough to register without a parent or guardian.
    She was 17 and acted really upset about it. Maybe the girl couldn't sing, but she could act. The registration lady felt so bad that she gave us all the best seats in the house in the section of the United Center that would be called up first to audition. Romi was allowed to tag along with Alyssa and me, the mature 18-year-olds.
  3. The next morning, I wore my cool, Forever 21 hippie dress and planned to sing "Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan.
    I thought I would stand out as that awesome hippie chick. I was really just that basic girl who thought she was an awesome hippie chick.
  4. Call time was 6:00am.
    Which meant we had to leave the 'burbs by 5am. I honestly don't know why call was so early... The doors didn't open until 8am, and we were basically just standing around waiting for that the whole time.
  5. The scene outside was... interesting to say the least.
    I can't tell you how many people were singing their hearts out to the crowds. I wanted to tell them that I wasn't a judge and didn't care. The camera guys filmed some random people and told them to sing "Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry. I searched for Ryan Seacrest, but he was nowhere to be found.
  6. They finally let us into the United Center.
    Alyssa, Romi and I made our way to our "only important people get to sit here" seats.
  7. A guy who wasn't Ryan Seacrest ordered us all around and treated us like the thousands of cattle we were.
    We were forced to learn the song "Hot N Cold" and then had to sing it for the cameras close to 50 times. Then, we were told to scream a bunch of random sentences such as "I love Chi-town!" while the camera panned us. The actual auditions had not started yet.
  8. After a long time of singing and screaming, it was time to audition.
    Let me take a moment to explain the setup. In the center of the United Center, there were about 12 booths separated by tarps. Each booth had a table of maybe four judges (none of whom were Simon, Paula, or Randy, and all of whom who were probably producers or casting people). Four people at a time would go to each booth, and each person would step forward and sing 30 seconds of a song. After everyone sang, the judges would deliberate and either send you home or send you on to the next round.
  9. Since we were in the exclusive first section, Alyssa and I were among the first to line up to audition.
    We ended up getting separated and sent to different booths. Once I got to my booth, the judges asked each of us to step forward and sing for 30 seconds. I thought I did a pretty bag up job. Afterward, they whispered together for a second before thanking us and sending all of us home. Another guy in my group was devastated, and started pleading with them. I skedaddled before witnessing the end of that conversation.
  10. I found Alyssa outside, and Romi somehow managed to find us.
    It was only 10am at this point, so to lick our wounds, we decided to have a fun day in Chicago.
  11. For an unknown reason, we thought it would be a good idea to walk from the United Center to Water Tower Place.
    Anyone who knows Chicago knows that not only is this a ridiculously far distance, but the United Center is surrounded by a not so great neighborhood. Alyssa and Romi were really nervous, but I was happy as a clam. I distinctly remember saying "Guys, it's Sunday! The Wire told me that no gang activity happens on Sunday!" I was a naive hippie chick.
  12. We ended up having a great day and never looked back.
    Well, at least until the Chicago episode aired, and I had to hear a bunch of hopefuls sing "Hot N Cold" again. I really haven't been able to stand that song since.
  13. The End
    Yes, we made it to Water Tower Place in one piece. Bet you thought something crazy was going to happen then.