I used to be a seat filler ultimately 12 months’s Grammys — here is what it is prefer to be in a room full of celebrities

Natalie at the 64th annual Grammy Awards in 2022.

Natalie Bickel on the sixty fourth annual Grammy Awards in 2022.Courtesy of Natalie Bickel

  • This 12 months’s Grammys can be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 5.

  • Natalie Bickel, certainly one of 150 seat fillers on the 2022 Grammys, shared her expertise with Insider.

  • Seat fillers take the place of stars once they stand up. Bickel sat in seats for Chris Stapleton and BTS.

In 2022, Natalie Bickel was certainly one of 150 fortunate winners of the seat-filler lottery for the Grammy Awards.

Natalie sitting at a table at the Grammys.

Natalie Bickel sitting at a desk on the Grammys.Courtesy of Natalie Bickel

On March 17, 2022, Bickel, who’s from southern Indiana, noticed an Instagram selling the seat-filler lottery for the sixty fourth Annual Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, she informed Insider. She and a pal turned two of the 25,000 individuals who determined to check their luck and enter for an opportunity to attend the occasion without spending a dime.

Lower than per week later, on March 23, Bickel discovered through e-mail that she was one of many 150 individuals chosen to be a seat filler on the April 3 present. Her pal was not chosen, however Bickel determined to go to Vegas on her personal.

“After I obtained the acceptance e-mail,” she informed Insider, “I used to be like, ‘Properly, I’ve to go!'”

The Grammys did not cowl any bills aside from the award present itself.

The plane ride to Vegas.

The airplane trip to Vegas.Courtesy of Natalie Bickel

The Grammys present seat fillers with free entry into the occasion, however that is the extent of their complimentary provisions, Bickel mentioned.

“[The whole experience] is an added expense. You are paying just about for the entire journey, aside from the precise award present,” she mentioned.

There have been lower than two weeks between the acceptance e-mail and the present, and in that brief time, Natalie needed to deal with the logistics on her personal.

“It was a fast turnaround,” she mentioned. “I needed to ebook a flight to Vegas and get a lodge room.”

Amongst her bills, which included Ubers and meals, she mentioned she paid $700 for her last-minute round-trip flight.

There have been strict guidelines, together with a gown code and a no-phones coverage.

Natalie at the Grammys.

Natalie Bickel on the Grammys.Courtesy of Natalie Bickel

Bickel mentioned seat fillers are informed to decorate formally, like every other visitor. “Formal robes, fits, and tuxes” are required, she mentioned.

Seat fillers are prohibited from attending the purple carpet — the one Grammys-related occasion seat fillers are permitted to attend is the award present itself.

“I wished to go to the purple carpet, however seat fillers weren’t allowed,” she mentioned.

Seat fillers are required at hand over their IDs, that are returned on the finish of the occasion, and Bickel was shocked to seek out out her telephone could be taken away earlier than she entered the venue, as nicely.

“I did not anticipate that!” she mentioned.

“They do not need anybody taking any photos,” she added. “They do not need the artists there being bothered in any respect by any seat fillers.”

As a substitute, one other seat filler was in a position to snap some photographs of Bickel on the venue when the occasion was over.

The function of a seat filler is a busy one, and you will be in your ft for hours at a time.

Natalie stands behind Jazmine Sullivan at the Grammys.

Natalie Bickel stands behind Jazmine Sullivan on the Grammys.VALERIE MACON/Getty Pictures

Seat fillers are there to make the viewers look full at any given second, so they’re instructed to take attendees’ seats once they stand up.

“In case you are on the ground, you’ll be shifting for many of the evening,” Bickel mentioned. “Any time somebody will get as much as go to the lavatory, somebody will get as much as get an award, somebody will get as much as get able to go carry out, somebody fills these seats.”

Though there are individuals accountable for making certain that seat fillers discover empty seats, organizers additionally encourage seat fillers to take initiative to discover a spot to fill.

“They let seat fillers know that if you happen to see an open spot you must simply go for it, as a result of it makes their job simpler,” Bickel mentioned.

Due to this, seat fillers should keep alert and be prepared to maneuver at any given second.

Not each seat filler will get to be on the principle flooring of the venue inside shut proximity to the celebrities.

Natalie at the 64th annual Grammy Awards.

Natalie on the sixty fourth annual Grammy Awards.Courtesy of Natalie Bickel

Since seat fillers assist fill gaps within the viewers, they have to be scattered across the venue.

“They do not assure that you simply’re on the ground the place everyone seems to be,” Bickel mentioned. “You is perhaps within the balcony to make that look full as nicely.”

“They describe it as a enjoyable musical chairs,” she added.

Though she wasn’t allowed to provoke dialog with celebrities, Bickel obtained up near many artists, like Chris Stapleton and BTS.

Chris Stapleton at the Grammys in 2022.

Chris Stapleton on the Grammys in 2022.Kevin Mazur/Getty Pictures

“As soon as we have been in there, we weren’t allowed to talk to the celebrities except they talked to us first,” she mentioned.

However that did not trouble her — she was excited simply to be in the identical room as a few of the world’s greatest stars.

“I used to be very near so many, like inches away from individuals,” she mentioned. “I used to be simply taking all of it in, holding my breath.”

“The one individuals I talked to have been individuals with Chris Stapleton, however not Chris Stapleton himself. I used to be at his desk in his seat whereas he was getting an award, so [the people at his table] talked to me just a little bit,” she mentioned.

On the 2022 Grammys, Stapleton received finest nation album for “Beginning Over,” finest nation track for “Chilly,” and finest nation solo efficiency for “You Ought to In all probability Go away.”

She additionally helped fill in BTS’ desk when members of the band obtained up.

“My pal who did not get to go is obsessive about BTS, so I informed her I’d attempt to get near them,” Bickel mentioned. “There was one level within the evening the place I used to be sitting in certainly one of their seats, and so they all got here again on the identical time, so I actually slowly obtained up and walked previous them.”

“I could not consider that I used to be in the identical room, and allowed to take a seat in the identical seats, as these mega stars. It was simply unreal,” she mentioned.

She beloved watching Justin Bieber react to Billie Eilish’s efficiency.

Billie Eilish and Finneas performing at the Grammys.

Billie Eilish and Finneas performing on the Grammys.Emma McIntyre/Getty Pictures

“Every time Billie Eilish was performing, Justin Bieber was the primary one to face up and provides her a standing ovation,” Bickel recalled. “That was actually neat.”

Bickel famous Eilish has been an outspoken Bieber fan for years.

General, Bickel loved her expertise and desires she might do it yet again.

Natalie posing with the program.

Natalie posing with this system.Courtesy of Natalie Bickel

This 12 months’s Grammys can be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 5.

“It was positively on my bucket checklist to attend an award present. I’d like to do it once more,” she mentioned. “I’ve FOMO this 12 months, however individuals who entered the lottery final 12 months and obtained it weren’t in a position to enter this 12 months.”

The expertise is one she’ll always remember.

“It was truly my first solo journey journey,” she mentioned, “and it was positively one to recollect.”

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