When Ryan Seacrest comes to town—and professes a love for the Gophers—you sit up and notice. At the Mariucci Arena of all places, Seacrest and a team of producers set up camp to hold auditions for the latest season of American Idol (we're on season 14, if you lost track).
We caught up with MyTalk 107.1 Digital Producer (and on-air talent) Marley McMillan, who was among the hundreds in line that day.
mspmag.com: Marley. Why now, why season 14?
Marley McMillan: Well, I have auditioned for a few of these singing reality shows. I’ve auditioned for American Idol and The Voice before. I’ve always been a singer, and especially since it was in Minneapolis, it was really easy to get to, really easy to do, and I definitely wanted to take a shot.
"One and Only" by Adele.
Take us through the day.
I got up at quarter to 4. Needed to shower and get all ready and maybe try and warm up my voice a little. I was in line at about 5 a.m. We waited in line for a long time, before Ryan Seacrest showed up. I was really close to him somehow—I managed to be literally half a foot away from him. Then you wait a little bit more outside—that whole process maybe takes four hours—three hours maybe?
When all the promo filming was finished, we went inside Mariucci Arena, where they seat you in the sections on one side of the arena. Then they slowly file you down into the floor of the arena. And then you wait again—so there are numerous periods of waiting. When you’re on the floor, you’re actually waiting to audition. Eventually you’re in a line of four people, and those are the four people that you stand in front of the producer you’re auditioning for. Then you audition one by one in that line.
So you’re right there, watching and being watched?
You do see them sing, although they are standing in front of you. And yes, you are in the arena as everyone else is auditioning. You can hear other people auditioning as you’re singing too.
Were you terrified?
I’ve done it so many times—I’ve auditioned so many times for different things. I’ve been singing in front of people my entire life, so that part of it is not scary in the way that everyone else thinks. But auditioning for one producer whose been seeing just hundreds of people? You end up feeling kind of like a number.
Did you make it through?
No, I am not moving on. I learned a few things that I can definitely do better. But it’s always a little bit of a letdown.
We still believe in you! But we gotta know—Ryan Seacrest: Hot or Not?
I mean, gosh, if you think Ryan Seacrest is hot, you would think he’s hot in person. Absolutely. I, personally—that’s not my type, but he was an attractive guy and he was so nice.
Lucky charm? I would say my lucky charm was having my best friend there.
What’s your onstage persona? Smart, sexy, but also cute and funny. My voice is a full, bluesy type of experience, like Adele or Sara Bareilles.
Favorite album as a kid?
Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits.
Go-to karaoke dive?
I’m just gonna say Dixie's, cause I don’t think I’ve done karaoke anywhere else. I have to be honest and say that I actually don’t like doing karaoke. It’s always a little bit awkward because I care too much. I’ll get up there and I’m accidentally so serious about it!