Once the show began I was relegated to chair backstage where I watched the entire show on a big TV (now I know how Mr Archaletta felt :)) so I was unable to take any more photos but Madeleine did take quite a few from the family's VIP seating.
Yes, the set is almost an exact duplicate of the one in Hollywood.
Ryan Seacrest had a few words to say from a 'remote location'.
The thrill of seeing your little girl's name on a big screen.
Our hostess was Jeannette; she wore the most adorable armadillo slippers while backstage.
Abigail back on stage ready to sing Our Song.
But first a chat with Jeanette (the chairs spin making it harder to sit on esp when one is short). It was all so exciting we can't even remember what this conversation was about.
And here's Abigail Gardiner singing Our Song.
So what did the judges say? One said Abigail's future is as limitless as the galaxy and another talked about being surprised such a big voice coming from such a small person. Then the mean guy had his two cents to throw in (we were warned he was paid to act like Simon) - he asked Abigail if she did well in school and she said 'I guess' and he recommended she stay in school. The audience booed.
So don't forget - vote for #3.
Here are all the contestants - #1 is an airman on her honeymoon, #2 is a stay-at-home mom from Chicago and of course our favorite #3 Abigail.
One last chance to see and hear your favorite before voting.
The audience members have voted. John (under duress) voted for his sister so we knew Abigail had at least 5 votes.
The contestants wait nervously.
One last nerve wracking moment and then......
Oh my!!!! Abigail is the WINNER!!!!!!!
We were shocked; not that we don't think she's good but so were the other two gals. So then we had to do some backstage videotaping and camera shots for use in the finale at 7pm. Abigail and I will return at 6pm for more fluff & puff but no voice coaching - it's all on your own for the finale. And the family will arrive at 6:30 for their VIP seating.