The Donna Summer Tribute Site

American Idol - Fan Report 

May 12, 2004 by Bhannn

I just came back from an exhausting day. I went to both tapings of Ryan Seacrest and American Idol in Hollywood. I was out all day so I don't know if I made it on TV or not, but if you see a guy holding Donna's Ebony magazine on Seacrest that's me. It's so funny cuz I could have gotten it autographed cuz DS was standing right by me with her old manager/friend Susan Munao when they were introducing her on Seacrest show, but I was just looking ahead and didn't even realize that I was arm's length from this legend. Then when she came out, she looked so different in all black and some parts sheer, she looked like Chaka Khan, especially with her hair brown and that long style.

I came all the way to Hollywood from southern Orange County so it took me a while to drive up there. On the way up there I started listening to the book on tape of Lorna Luft (Judy Garland's daughter): "Me and My Shadow", and she stated that most people today primarily remember her mom as Dorothy from "The Wizard of OZ" (my all time favorite movie), because it's an annual family event to watch it when it airs every year on TV. I started thinking about this, and this was the case when I was growing up, but not in today's age of high-tech and videos, DVDs, etc. I know a lot of kids today that don't know my favorite movie at all and don't have a clue who Judy Garland is including my 30 year old sister. And for that matter, a lot of kids don't even know who Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Popeye, and a lot of other favorite cartoon characters that I always used to watch before going to school and on Saturday mornings, because they are replaced with other stuff including the reality shows that kids these days thrive on. So it really didn't surprise me that a lot of people in line didn't know who Donna Summer was. There was one girl in line at American Idol who told me who she was and told me that Donna Summers was the lady that sang "hot girls", "bad stuff" and of course "I will survive". She was surprised when I told her that not only were all three songs wrong but that she didn't even get Donna's last name right. So, it kind of struck me relevant that Donna said on the Seacrest show that you basically don't matter after you get the award (the Grammy, etc), and that people tend to forget who you are, and that you matter more before the award and recognition.

On American Idol, I sat next to Diana's (the girl who sang "enough is enough") mother and her friends (from Snellville, Atlanta-- real name of the city). They told me that Diana was really the only girl brave enough to sing one of Donna's songs and the other contestants were asked to also by the producers, but they were completely intimidated to do so in front of Donna. It also did not really help that Donna had not really met any of the contestants and worked with them the way Barry Manilow did in rearranging his songs and spending personal quality time with each contestant. Diana's mother is a very sweet lady and she told me that she was so happy with her daughter's performances and wardrobe tonight. She told me that she didn't allow the staff to chose Diana's clothes tonight, but that she had done it herself. She also told me that Diana had really studied the Babs-Donna duet a lot. I told her that I had seen Donna do it in concert and she still performs it as a duet with her sister Mary Bernard on stage with a funny introductory story. Diana's mother told me that Diana had to keep cutting short the song because it really is a long song and the producers told her to edit it as much as possible, and even suggested that she altogether cut off the slow intro of "no more tears" part and get straight to "enough is enough". Diana wanted to keep at least a little of the intro on, and she did a fantastic job in turning this duet into a solo performance and I am sure that Donna was impressed as was everyone- it was indeed the best performance of the night. She told me that the contestants will be performing with Donna tomorrow night.

Other notes--- Donna spent a lot of time chatting with Paula Abdul, and gave Simon a kiss on each cheek when she first came out. During the commercial brakes, the audience was given a chance to ask the judges questions. Two little girls asked Simon for hugs. One black gay guy said he came all the way from Chicago to see his two idols, Donna Summer and Paula Abdul, and asked them for hugs. When he was hugging Donna, I thought about what she said in her book about getting hugs from fans and that "it's getting dark in there". And some people performed songs. I wanted to ask Donna about the "drought" of the new album her fans are experiencing and do a medley of Donna's songs, like a portion of one song from every song starting from "The Hostage" and ending with "My Life", but I chickened out, and other than Donna, no one else would really know any of those songs. One black girl did a great version of "Amazing Grace", and Donna was really into her performance. I told the girl, Iesha that I noticed how Donna was really into her performance, and that I had seen Donna perform the songs two times in a row at the Universal Amphitheater as a dedication to her mother when she had passed. All in all I am so happy that got to see Donna Summer today.

 © May 2004, Bhannn
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