Nicole's dark journey began when she saw one of those and begged her grandparents to call. "I was actually hoping for Wild & Crazy Kids [a by-then-discontinued show which also bordered on child-endangering], but it turned out it was for Legends."
The auditions were a mini boot camp in which kids scared of moderate physical activity were ousted in humiliating ways. So like Olympic Day at school, but actually important. "For the first test, we had to do a bunch of exercises, like an obstacle course. I breezed through that. A lot of kids got scared climbing ropes and would freeze, with some Nick workers telling them, 'You stay up there, you're out,' and they were out."
Hey, better there than on national TV, in front of all of your friends and millions of strangers.
"Then there was a 'history test,' which really had maybe five history questions, while the rest were like basic science and then TV show questions ... One of the questions was about Ren & Stimpy, and the kid in front of me turned and said, 'Ren was the cat, right?' After he said that, a Nick worker put a hand on his shoulder and took him out of the line. Gone. Like that."
Welcome to the ruthless world of show biz, you little fuckers! "They were looking for certain kids. Half were boys, half were girls -- you know that just by looking at the show -- but to me they picked it almost like a jury. Really hyper kids were knocked out ... crabby kids were gone. Kids who didn't know Nick were gone."
Kids like Nicole, who were well-behaved and survived the barrage of Field Day activities, were in. A few months later, she was driven to the studio, only to find out that ...