Intro: I will write this in exactly the same format as the last one. There will be a summary, then written in the form of a diary in chronological order with subheadings. This one wasn’t as long as we only went for one day and the total time was less than 36hrs. The only difference as this time I was with Kate rather than Nona, the edits will read “Kate adds…” rather than “Nona adds”.
Summary: This time next week I couldn’t have predicted how this would work out as the entire plan by the time I left my house on Saturday evening had been changed completely, and the whole preparation was a nightmare! In the end after all the chaos, I went to the Birmingham auditions with Kate (who I know from Twitter) and her friend Loz. We all stayed with my little brother (well to me as he’s 20 years old lol) as he lives in Birmingham for most of the year and is currently studying at Aston University. It was good but in a different way as we didn’t get to meet Simon this time but we did make a present for him and got a reaction in the audience again. We were just a tad disappointed not to meet him though.
By the way this by far is the least organised and confusing set auditions I have ever been to. We spent most of our time just looking lost.
Kate adds: “We were just a tad disappointed not to meet him” is an understatement, personally I was really REALLY disappointed and slightly angry at the Applause Store seating arrangements and people who didn’t get there early like us got better seats >.<
The original plan was so very different to the outcome. Originally I just had 3 regular tickets for the Sunday 1pm show because when me, Livi and Katia requested tickets we applied to Birmingham too in case we didn’t get any day in London and were using this as a back up plan. When we found between us we had 2 days in London there was no point in Livi or Nona flying in again or Katia making the trip, so Livi gave me these tickets. My brother lives in Birmingham so it was easy to stay over there and as I didn’t know anyone else to offer the ticket to and Tom was allowing me over so I also let him invite his friend Rodger to join us. Kate didn’t have tickets at all at first but with the help of someone we both know on Twitter who has friends working at the “Applause Store” got her 4 priority tickets for her and 3 of her friends also for the Sunday but in the evening 6pm session. We weren’t sure if we would see it each other depending on the timing.
This was also all put to rest with disappointment when I posted my excitement on Facebook and Cat from Uni (who I run the trampolining club with) me reminded me that it was on the same day as the competition, which although I was not competing in, I was judging, because we had to provide a judge and I was the only qualified person, so I had to go.
Friday 17th February 2012:
Chaos and confusion:
Over the past week, my want to be a judge decreased further and further. I felt really bad anyway to turn down helping at the competition because it would mean I was putting Britain’s Got Talent ahead of them and they don’t understand the fangirl side of me. However the last training session nobody turned up and didn’t seem to care about it so I had already found out I can phone in ill, which I was considering but in the end as nobody was ready on Friday which is why Cat cancelled the competition. I was texting Kate basically all day trying to persuade her to come up on the Saturday evening but she wouldn’t because although her friends were all friends of hers they didn’t know each other so would be unfair to expect them to come up together on the Sunday together without her there. She was still waiting for her friends to get back to her as she didn’t know what was going on it seemed and was still asking if she could come up to stay up to me the night before for the sake of the barrier. In the mean time we were working out how early she could get there as there was a chance I would not see her at all.
For the afternoon of Friday I was making the sign which I had a sudden brain wave during my athletics session in the morning. I also made something else which I will not mention now. Then at 9pm I got a phone call from Kate and turned out 2 of her friends had finally got hold of her and now weren’t planning to go. This would have been fine accept this included the driver and now they had no way of getting back when the show finished or anyway really of getting there very early. She was desperately trying to swap her tickets from 6pm to 1pm with the help of Paul and we did manage although as this is a public blog I will not post how. Then with the help of Skype we were straight on the phone to Tom to make sure it was OK for both Kate and her friend Loz to stay over, sorting out train times and logistics all at the same time. Finally by about 1am we were sorted with a plan which would work, and in my opinion a lot better than the original one. Rodger who was coming seemed to have forgotten about it so it was easy to make me, Kate, Tom and Loz the 4 and use her priority tickets together instead. Better seats and we could all sit together.
Kate adds: It was such a kerfuffle (I think people will get confused with this word haha. Means nightmare but I prefer kerfuffle). I am quite an organised person and everything was so last minute I was freaking out. Plus with working 8 days on the run and no day off from work/uni in weeks and no lie–ins, I was so tired and a tad stressed out. All’s well that ends well though!
Saturday 18th February 2012
Arriving in Birmingham and meeting Kate:
Being me, I told Tom I would get to Birmingham around 2pm. It is about 2 and half hours on the train. However instead of arriving then, this is the time I left. Kate also was a bit behind on her timings it seemed and wasn’t due to arrive in Birmingham herself until 7:30pm. So when I got there the first priority was a trip to Argos with Tom to get some airbeds and dinner. We went to Wetherspoons (which for those who aren’t English is a bar/restaurant chain) where of course we had to have a “beer and burger”, although I don’t drink beer, only cider. While there I had a sudden panic as I looked in the bag and realised that after showing the sign to Kate on Skype I put it back in the wrong bag! I put it back in the bag with an old sign from last time not with the blank one. Realising this and panicking I insisted to start to replicate the sign in the middle of Wetherspoons, with just a few strange looks from the waitress when she bought over the food. Tom already was looking embarrassed by the whole thing. At least by doing it once before it was quick and easy. After this we did a trip looking for more wrapping paper as the one I was using went wrong when I tried ironing it (don’t even ask!) but this was unsuccessful. With our last bit of time before seeing Kate we were in Tom’s room blowing up the new airbeds with a hair dyer (very clever Tom!) and I was still attempting to colour in the sign.
At around 7:15 we head towards the train station. Apparently our timing wasn’t the best and the trip from Aston University to Birmingham New Street station was a lot longer than I remembered it to be, so by the time Kate got there we were still 5 minutes away. She told us she was outside WHSmith which was fine as we knew where that was. When we got there however we found she was not there. I called her and she insisted she was there. It took us a while to work out that although we were at the same WHSmith it had 2 sets of doors, one at the platform side and one at the ticket booth side. I did see a girl on her phone with a friend and thought it could be her as I hadn’t met her before and was basing it on a few pics of Kate I had seen, I didn’t want to risk it. Gave it away though when the girl put her phone down walked straight over and hugged me, lol.
Kate adds: Haha, it was like..
Me: We’re outside WHSmith
Carly: So are we
Me: *looks back* we are though! *turns to the left* hiiiii *puts phone down*
Me and Tom in Argos
Us in the Wetherspoons
Blowing Up the airbeds with a hairdryer
The evening before and camping out:
Once we had dumped off their stuff we all left with Tom’s flatmate Neil to go to the pub. We chose a quieter pub so we could actually all talk. Rodger joined us not too long after. Feel sorry for the guys (and even Loz to a degree) as me and Kate in traditional Saula fan style were both very chatting discussing various Saula related subjects even showing videos. Think I embarrassed my brother the most however when I was trying to show Kate my demonstration of Roycey impersonating Simon’s comment regarding watching movies from the previous week. Slightly painful for me as I ended up with carpet burns (again don’t ask! I am sure Nona and Livi will understand what I mean though). After the pub we went to the local chippy (for those not British the “chippy” or sometimes the “chipper” is a slang nick name for the “Fish and Chip shop” which as well as fish and ‘fries’ sells loads of fast food) because Loz mentioned she was hungry and I think in the end we were all getting chips (‘fries’ in American). For some reason Kate had a problem with my chips because I put ketchup on Cheesy Chips. Apparently she thinks that the idea of ketchup with cheese was disgusting.
We were camping out on Tom’s room, and to say it was a squish would be an understatement. The airbeds literally just covered the whole floor. I shared my brother’s bed and Kate and Loz had an airbed each. We all bought our own sleeping bags and pillows.
Still crazy that we are camping out in my brother’s room even though Loz knows neither of us, I feel I know Kate but never met before and Tom had allowed us all to stay around and the only person he knew was me accept speaking to Kate with on Skype the day before for about 15 minutes (literally).
Although we got back to Tom’s around 11:30pm don’t think we got to sleep about 2 or 3am. We were making the Saula sign and I suggested to Loz if she wanted to meet Ant and Dec she should make a sign for them. The only paper Tom had was A4, so she cellotaped 4 pieces together and using the crayons (yes still Crayola lol) made a sign for them.
Kate adds: Right this has GOT to be said… chips, cheese AND tomato sauce/ketchup… that is just ewww
Me, Kate and Loz
Tom and Rodger I think trying to attempt to look intelligent:
Kate said she was cold (if you were wondering lol)
All 4 of us
Us with our chips (ketchup and cheese included lol)
Obviously too much of a tiring day for Tom hehe
Me and Kate before starting on the poster again (you can see it in the back ground)
Us in Tom’s room with Loz making her Ant & Dec poster
Kate’s lame attempt to hide from the camera
Sunday 19th February 2012
All our alarm clocks when off around 7am. The funniest was Kate’s as her phone was on the table charging and she had to get up in the dark to turn it off. All we heard after she turned it off was a large thud as she tripped up on the airbed on the way back. I was the first up as I still yet to finish the sign and had the quotes to add to it. By 8am I had finished and the others seemed to have managed to roll out of bed.
We walked to Birmingham New Street train station, with a little detour via the local shop for food for the day (including a discussion about whether tuna should come with sweetcorn or not lol). Also a minor detour via Burger King for what Kate considered to be breakfast. Some how we still got Kate the wrong ticket as it was for Virgin Trains only and both directions we didn’t use Virgin trains. In the end when they did check the tickets, I put it with mine which was right and the conductor didn’t even notice. We had to wait 20 minutes for the next train as it was a Sunday morning. We were worrying as we would be arriving at about 9:30 when we were hoping to get there before 9am. When we got to the Birmingham International we were following the signs to the NEC when Kate noted that this was the NEC and we wanted the ICC! We were already running late and after checking the tickets again we were at the wrong place. Of course I had to blame Kate That was the theme of most of the weekend, ever since the sign issue I blamed Kate for everything that went wrong lol. We panicked and didn’t think we would get to the barrier in time to be at the front. We didn’t even know where the ICC was. I heard it as the NEC when she said it the night before and I think I thought it was there because I went there a year and a half ago for The X Factor, therefore I assumed this would be too, not to mention “the NEC” and the “the ICC” sound very alike, especially when said quick and you didn’t realise the ICC even existed! When we searched where the ICC was it was only 5 minutes from Birmingham New Street station which is where we got the train from the first place! We again had to wait around 15 minutes to get the next train back before finally making it to the correct location, speed walking across the city centre of Birmingham. Poor Loz and Kate were struggling to keep up, but we all got there in one piece by the end.
Kate adds: The airbeds were fine and comfy apart from me now having bruises on my knees as it sunk when I fell on it. Also I was facing Tom’s bed before I went to sleep, but as I know Carly well, I knew if she woke up and I was still asleep she would take a BAD picture of me so I turned to face the wall haha!
Tuna and sweetcorn ewwwwwww. Needs to be just Tuna obviously.
FYI… NOTHING was actually my fault, they just decided to blame me L *cries into pillow* haha.
Whilst running to the ICC I could have had some sort of asthma attack honestly. One thing this weekend has thought me is that my chest is 50 times worse than I first thought. Making doctors appointment this week.. oopsy! Worth it though for Simon ❤
As you can see they were a lively bunch at 7am lol
Before we got dressed. This is as much as Kate would let me show of her at this time in the morning
Loz and Kate getting ready in the morning (probably the girliest Tom’s rooms looked with those straighteners)
When Kate was ready and considered herself presentable
Kate and Loz at Burger King (too early in the morning in my opinion)
Queuing and Negotiating:
When we arrived we thought the barriers were packed, until we realised that was just the queue and nobody had gone anywhere at all. There weren’t as many people as we were expecting thankfully. There could have been around only 200 or so. This sounds a lot but this was at 10am and it is a Sunday show too, not like London which was a weekday and people would need the time off. We couldn’t find the priority tickets line so I asked a random guy who had a “Got Talent” hoodie on and he said that the Applause Store people hadn’t arrived yet and that if we were priority we shouldn’t need to line up, so we should come back later. Kate was worried that we would be filtered out later of this queue and didn’t want to lose our place in this queue, and especially as we had nowhere else to go anyway. This guy also mentioned that the first acts would be outside.
After about 15 or 20 minutes later they started moving the queue to the other side in barriers that had been set out. We saw mine and Nona’s “new best friend” while we were there and actually shouted at him “new best friend, do you remember me from London?” he laughed and waved back. We had no idea what was going on or where we were going, let alone why. By the sounds of it neither did anyone else. Being me I went up and asked someone. It turned out the only reason was that queue was now spilling out onto the road and the idea was take us to a snaked barrier to keep the queue off the road. We asked if we were supposed to join this seeing how we were priority and they said they were keeping us all together for now. We were in the middle of this queue for a bit until we saw some people leaving, even though there no real announcement. A lady came to a group near us and said “hey, we have to go now” and we were confused with what was going on. We assumed they were priority but we weren’t sure. I asked one of them and it was, so we left that queue luckily. Nobody actually told us though they put us in that queue and never told us to leave. There was only about 20 people ahead of in the priority queue so we couldn’t work out why were in row T which was 20 rows from the front! We tried getting better tickets (in a polite way hehe) but it made no difference. We had realised that there was no judges barrier and assumed that is because the first acts were outside, which is why we made our mission to get a) get better seats and b) find out where to be for these first acts. Obviously firstly (and mainly due to Tom) we had to get our priorities right which was why went to Starbucks I also went to every person I saw who had the t-shirts which said “Crew”, “Got Talent” or “Applause Store” on it to see what I could find out.
We headed back outside and asked people getting priority seats to see where they were and they were 4 rows behind us. We called Paul again and he asked who was there so I was going around taking photos and twitpicing them to Paul to see who we should speak to. A lady inside was giving tickets out which were in the first few lines, but they were for Virgin Media. We joined the queue just to see what happened to the spare tickets. Although Paul said she (who turned out to be Claire who Paul had mentioned before) she was not at all helpful. The queue outside was like an island, and we found although the first 2 acts were outside, we would be inside at the time. We weren’t allowed to go in either, so we gave up and sat down.
I asked Paul again for help and he said he thought Roycey would be outside soon, so I went outside seeing if I could see him and explain to Paul the very strange set up which was outside. They were filming the crowd shots. When I hung up a new barrier was being set up (in fact where a lady who were we were chatting to earlier said the judges went through on Friday). I asked the guy putting the barriers out what was they were for and he said “these are just the judges barriers”. They were filling up quick so I phoned Kate and told them to get there straight away! Another guy was doing the same and wait for his friends so we made a pact to bagsy the whole section for us and our friends.
This turned out to be a great place to be. They started moving the barrier around again and moved the queue to where we were and changing the set up ready for the judges.
Kate adds: To say I was annoyed with row T as our tickets would be an understatement, as I had been front row in Manchester last month I was well and truly quite angry since we had priority and were near the front of the queue. I think I had been too lucky in Manchester to be honest and my expectations were WAY too high for Birmingham. I blame Virgin Media. Screw you.
Tom and Kate in the queue which we seemed to be in for about 15-20 minutes for no reason
Us inside and feeling a lot warmer now
Us with our ticket’s
Ant and Dec – As always Ant and Dec were the first to come out. We wondered what the screaming was about. They headed to where the acts were practising outside. Loz had her sign out and when Ant and Dec walked past they gave her the thumbs up. When they came back a little later, they both passed us. Kate and I shouted to Dec, “Dec! She has a sign for you”. He was about 4m down, he came down, read the sign, hugged Loz and kissed her on the cheek. The look on her face was priceless! As he walked back past I did my normal of asking for a hug and got one too.
Amanda – Amanda was the first to arrive. She actually didn’t speak to a single person, just walked straight in. I was quite confused by this. However I did shout, “congratulations Amanda” and she turned back and said “thank you” to me.
David – We heard rumours that David was coming from another direction ad couldn’t work out how that was possible as the road was the other side of the area. There was also rumours he was walking. We assumed they were joking but they weren’t. Someone even shouted saying they could see him at the pedestrian crossing. Still thought they were joking, but they weren’t! He actually did walk from the hotel and was followed by loads of people. Was funny to see him press the button at the pelican crossing and wait for the lights to change. He did his usual of stopping at practically every person on the way. Which is why we didn’t see him until after Alesha arrived.
Alesha – Alesha was a little more traditional and did turn up in a car. She spoke to loads of people. She did walk past us at first. She was about 10m down. I wanted her attention so shouted what me and Nona shouted in London but changed it to Birmingham. It really did work. As soon as I shouted “Alesha! Have you seen any talent in Birmingham so far”, she walked straight over to me and grabbed my hands again. This time she said “no” and everyone practically at once said “what!?” and looked confused. She said “oh sorry what was the questions again?”. I repeated it again and she said “oh no! No, we have seen lots of talent here so far”!
Alesha and David – By this point David had finally got to us and Alesha and David met right in front of us. I really hope to find the pics of them together, as you should see me, Tom and Kate in them as this happened literally right in front of us. As Alesha was there he was showing off his cakes he had in his hand with Ant and Dec’s faces on it (I think from fans further down).
Simon – Simon didn’t turn up. They said he wouldn’t but we didn’t believe them as they told us the same in London and he turned up straight after. However they were putting the barriers away already so we were more inclined to believe them. They weren’t entirely right thought because they said he was going through the back way, but instead it was just that he turned up so late that he didn’t have time to go in first he went straight to the outside acts. We could see that easily later as his Phantom was actually parked next to the where the acts were performing still and he even joked about if he could do the judging from his car still!
Kate add: I wanted to cry because I desperately wanted a hug haha! Nevermind
The strange set up they had. The open space is where the cars pulled up and behind that crowd is outside arena
Us at the barrier. Within about 10 minutes it got really busy!
It was so cold, must have been minus degrees C, this was Kate’s way of keeping warm
My camera was a bit slow this is literally after Dec hugged Loz. That is Loz’s arms you can see he’s still holding
Dec straight after my hug. Again Tom said the camera took the pics several seconds after hitting the shutter
Amanda walking past us
David… when he finally got to us
David getting closer to us
[No photos of Alesha as I was holding the camera and as she was holding my hands with my camera in my hands and as we were hogging too much time as it was couldn’t take any or when David was here as they had their backs to us to pose for the cameras in front]
The show itself:
Outside acts – The outside acts were just… strange and in all honesty I didn’t get it. One could have been done inside anyway and the other couldn’t really be done inside but seeing how the lives shows and Royal Variety is on a stage, surely it should be done inside on a stage. It was strange watching this too on a large screen on the stage and it made no difference what we did as they couldn’t hear us, they had a separate audience. It was just so time consuming and the whole process just took forever!
Also was weird because the whole format changed because of it. Usually at the beginning Roycey does an intro, then introduce Ant and Dec. They come on and they introduce the judges. Simon makes a speech then the acts start. This time the outside acts went first, then Roycey came on and they did the rest the same from there.
The guy who called Simon a “bell end” – I know this has been talked about a lot and it seems from what Paul was DMing us it was causing a massive stir backstage too. This guy came on, and in my personal opinion wasn’t too bad. Not sure if someone buzzed him or something but he just out of nowhere called Simon a “bell end”. The crowd had been booing Simon quite a lot, but at this point they were right behind Simon and start booing the contestant. All the 4 buzzers went off very quickly. Nobody spoke accept Simon who just said, “well I think you are being a complete and utter dick!” and the audience started cheering this comment. The contestant just stormed off stage. He seemed to have load of family and friends in the audience, they left suddenly and with a lot of fuss, and as they did Roycey came on stage and started singing “cheerio, cheerio, cheerio” (if anyone knows that chant) while waving and the entire audience joined in. It was hilarious! For that reason it was my favourite act, was the funniest thing I had seen with 2000 people sing “cheerio, cheerio, cheerio” to loads of family and friends as they left.
Kate adds: Hearing Simon swear was epic. Don’t ask me why haha!
The acts generally – Generally the talent was not bad at all. There were a few dreadful ones, but not many. Very few times all 4 buzzers went off. There were a lot that were good, but not great. There were also some outstanding ones, 2 come to mind. One was suppose to be a surprise in the size of the group as we saw them arrive we were expecting it and they were brilliant, one of the best acts by far even though nobody could decide what songs suited them best. The first act was also amazing! However I didn’t like it in that this is ‘BRITAIN’S Got Talent’ and they flew in from Hungary for this and only this, didn’t make sense to me as it kind of defeated the idea of the show to me.
Kate adds: mmm they were yummy
The audience – At the end Simon said this was his favourite audience. No idea why! I didn’t think they were great. Loads left near the end (probably because we were running so unbelievably late) and it just didn’t have the same atmosphere as the previous ones. The only time the audience really got involved was for the singing of “cheerio, cheerio, cheerio”, unless it was that he was referring to.
Kate adds: He obviously said that because me, Loz, Carly and Tom were there
Where we were sat
Me and Tom at our seats
Me, Kate and Loz at our seats
All 4 of us together
The live auditions from outside on the big screen
Ant and Dec on stage and the judges had literally just arrived
After the show and saying goodbye:
When the show finally finished we went for a drink at the local Wetherspoons still chatting. Only stayed for one drink though as we had to rush back to get Kate and Loz’s things so could they could get to the train station on time. It summed up Saula/#Pamily meet ups and everything I love about them, when we were walking back the 4 of us were all arm in arm, even though we only met less in person less than 48 hours ago.
Was actually quite sad when we waved to them as their train left the station. Hope we can all meet up again, I loved those 36 hours.
My journey home was so long and tiresome. I just missed my train and had to wait an hour for the next. Also found that there was no Leicester connection so had to go via London. Thus instead went to Euston, walked from Euston to St Pancras (as the London underground was closed by this time) so good thing it was just around the corner. I finally got home around 2:35am.
Kate finally adds: I had such an amazing time despite the rush on Saturday with plans and tickets etc. It was great meeting Carly and of course Tom! (thanks for letting us camp out in your room) J
I hope to meet up with them both again soon sometime this year for even more flailing and fun!
Kate and Loz on the train just before it left the station
The pic we twitpiced at Bedford train station when I finally arrived back in Bedford: