The Barrettsmith Sisters – A closer look behind the curtain of American Idol

There is no doubt that Brooke and Leah Barrettsmith of Spring Grove have competed the adventure of their lives in Fock's American Idol megahit TV show. Before exploring their experiences, here's a brief description of how the show works in case you've never seen it.

Before purchasing a plane ticket to Hollivood, a competitor must first endure three days of grueling auditions in one of the major U.S. cities selected to host preliminary auditions. American Idol producers are well aware that the success of the show is based on people without talent as well as those with IT. Many people only hesitate to see the judges mock the contestant to tears or to watch the contestant angry about sending a packet. For example, in this year's show, the two twin males are characteristic because they speak very openly about the judges and verbally protect each other. Another contestant named "Cowboy" jumped on the judges table to sing part of his song.

The camera focuses on the expressions of judges American Idol, Simon Covell, Paul Abdul and Randi Jackson as much as the contestants. Covell's gruesome comments are now a ritual and audience comfortable. Abdul and Jackson regularly criticize Covell. Sometimes a competitor's talent is so obviously second-rate that all three judges can barely hold their laughter.

Competitors must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 16 and 28. This year, 16-year-old contestant Kevin Covais revealed that talent is beyond age. On the opposite pole is a prematurely gray 28-year-old Kevin Hicks whose unique voice could lead him to the finals.

The top 24 semifinalists were removed from public contact like a lone jury. They have to do drug tests. Some contestants were disqualified during the show for failing these tests. All contestants must sign a contract that prevents them from using cell phones, except for family calls and emergencies and the Internet where they can discuss the show in the chat room. They cannot watch TV shows or listen to radio shows or read newspapers. TV fans are currently downloading the vote by phone. The judges consult and comment on the performance, but at this level they no longer vote.

The "finalists" are the last 12 competitors. The drama intensifies after several weeks of further elimination, until no contestant is selected as the winner

The adventure of Brooke and Leah Barrettsmith began on a cold day in September 2005. They arrived at Soldier Field in downtown Chicago at 5:00 a.m., accompanied by their father, Rev. William. Scott Barrettsmith. "We needed to be there early enough to be able to take a good place," Brooke said. Nearly 20,000 contestants auditioned in Chicago that day. Some of them were from New Orleans because the city was chosen as an audition center, but was washed away by Hurricane Katrina.

The contestants were taken to Soldier Field in groups of 300. Brooke and Leah wanted to audition together so they held hands. "Don't separate us!" told American Idol employees.

Only the first day of hope survived the first day. Brooke and Leah were relieved to be one of them. "There were thousands of totally depressed people there," Scott said. The Barrettsmiths spent nights at a nearby hotel. "We literally got the last room available," Scott said.

Two and three days were as hectic as the first. Executive producers of American Idol have told Barrettsmith that "personality is needed" to move on. "I had no problem showing personality," Brooke said. Brooke befriended Mandis, a Tennessean semifinalist. "I can tell you that you are a Christian," Mandisa said. "Girl, let's pray!" When told that Leah had planned to sing a Christian song called "Blessed," the producers said they preferred secular songs. "They didn't want to show favoritism," Leah said. During the audition, Leah sang "Blessed" anyway. "I had trouble making my first choice and just stopped and switched," Lea said.

"We were looking to audition together," Brooke said. Manufacturers allowed this in an unusual move. In a television interview Leah said: "I believe in my sister and she believes in me as much as I love her and we will do it together as much as we can."

Brooke and Leah first confronted the now-famous American Idol judges, Simon Covell, Paul Abdul and Randy Jackson.

Brooke led and sang a short part of her Shoop Shoop song. Then Leah sang. Randy said to Lea, "I like your voice. I think you're good. I'd say Lea." Paula Abdul said, “I think you’re both talented and different in your own way, so I’ll either say‘ yes ’to both, or‘ no. ’” Simon said, “Well, I’d say‘ no ’to both. "There was a brief silence. Then Randy said, 'We have a quarrel, Judge. "Simon said, 'I'll apply Randy's' yes' to both of you, so now it's up to Paula." Paula said, "I love my sister. I love the fact that you're here together supporting each other. I think you both need to work, but you can go back to Hollywood, too. ”Brooke and Leah responded with happy shouts and a big hug. Meanwhile Randi said, "Welcome to Hollivood, sisters, sisters!"

Brooke and Lea told growers about the Richardson corn maze. Feeling a good story, the producers sent a crew of cameramen to Spring Grove to film the sisters playing in and around the corn maze. "The shooting lasted about 10 hours, including dinner with the crew," Brooke said. "All this for a two-minute segment."

In Hollivood

The next phase of auditions began on December 4 in Hollywood. "About 200 of the tens of thousands have arrived in Hollivood," Brooke said. Brooke and Leah traveled without their parents or relatives. They spent the first day touring Hollivood with half of the contestants while the other half auditioned. They wore striking American Idol labels to promote the show in Los Angeles. They stayed at the hotel, two to a room each. "The show didn't skip accommodation," Lea said.

Both were successful in their first audition. In another audition, Randi told Leo, "You didn't bring it today. It's the end of the road."

Leah was surprised by the action. "What you see on television is not always the way it actually happened," Leah said. "They do a lot of editing to make the show more dramatic. For example, when I was singing, the audience seemed bored and quiet on TV. In fact, the audience cheered and clapped as I sang. They yelled" let it through! & # 39; "At another moment, you see Leah looking terrified on TV as if she were reacting to a negative decision. "That footage was totally taken at another time and edited into space," Leah said.

The show puts the contestants in small groups for one segment. "I don't know why it makes us sing with the group," Leah said. "It really has nothing to do with why we're there. I think they try to put a lot of stress on the contestants because of the TV cameras. They're very strict. You better not be late for the meeting. They treat you like dogs."

Brooke supported Leah's concerns. "They love crying and drama. They like to scare you," Brooke said. "Sometimes the judges act completely. They seemed to be lying."

"I think they're pushing the guy to win this year," Brooke said. "They focus on talent for guys."

American Idol rules say a competitor cannot be professionally signed. The show makes the contestants sign a contract limiting their professional activity to one full year. "We're locked up until August," Brooke said.

Leah soon moves to Nashville to pursue a singing career. "I'll be doing more mainstream music," Leah said.

Brooke is dedicated to staying on the Christian music scene. "Christian music is a lot more relevant now," Brooke said. "My career has turned for the better. God used American Idol to change me. Now I'm even more in music ministry."