It's been an interesting couple of days. KFBK moved into new studios at River Park Drive, and I had to do some quick tap dancing early Saturday morning because the host of the Outdoor Show was late for the first time in years because his alarm clock broke.
At least I learned new skills about the updated equipment in the only effective way: the equivalent to learning how to swim by being thrown into the pool.
So, to treat myself because I just hit 53, I decided to go see one of the X Factor auditions at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
It's an easy train ride from Sacramento, and it was easy to get tickets.
The arena was converted to a 5000 seat facility, and it made me think the arena was a lot smaller than what I remembered. Then again, I haven't been there since 1990.
There were dozens of people, thinking that they had the X Factor that's worth five million dollars. That included this girl group called Breaking Day...
The biggest surprise involved this girl, Sophie Tweed-Simmons, a college student with a dad that may be familiar to a lot of you, especially those who rock and roll nightly and party daily....
Yep, KISS Army, Gene Simmons was there. He didn't even know what his daughter was planning to do until the day before. I thought he was there because he was filling in for Simon Cowell, who had been under the weather lately. If that was true, it would be a good idea.
I'd rather not say if Sophie made it to the next round. I will say Gene joined her on stage, then left like he was Chuck Berry. Some Twitterers may have spilled the beans already, but you can see what happened this fall.
My seat was just to the right of the stage, and relatively close. I had brought binoculars if I was far away, and they helped.
There were plenty of interesting signs from the fans, too:
This one was meant for Simon, but it was used more often for the less-than-talented contestants, including a female duo who would have been gonged out of TV it it was 35 years ago.
I was able to get a good picture at the four judges...
From what I could see, Britney Spears and Demi Lovato has a knack for this. Demi was a bit more critical, and chided Simon sometimes. She really thinks that if someone doesn't have that "X Factor", she'll say so. Britney was a bit more diplomatic, and looked cute in glasses. She removed them in the first batch of contestants. Simon, of course, cuts like a knife as usual, because it's what he does.
There was one guy who was, er, unusually dressed, He was off-key singing Madonna, but has a strong voice. His enthusiasm, well, was an asset. There was another guy who was actually advised to change his approach to the song he had prepared, and come back later. I never heard that before.
Some were close, but not close enough, and there were really good prospects like a trio from Orange County who developed their own style. Of course, other people would make their mark in the other sessions, but I did enjoy the one I attended. If I could, I would have attended a second show, but once was enough. I just wanted an interesting way to celebrate my 53rd birthday early, and I think I made a good choice.