Most people, when they finally turn 18, much rather buy lottery tickets or attend a club. I had other dreams. I told myself at age 16 I would audition for American Idol.
Lucky for me, the week of my 18th birthday, American Idol was hosting open call auditions in Pittsburgh ! My best friend, who played guitar, and his older brother, who was also a musician, wanted to chase down their dreams. Thanks to their mom we packed up the van and headed to Pennsylvania where we would put it out there. We discussed all the possibilities and began to excite ourselves with our dream of being a contestant coming true.
What did we learn?
This was a 2 day long process prior to the audition. They also expected a hand written document with our background and heartfelt story; you know the stories about a persons dog becoming ill and when they sang to the dog he/she was cured?
We arrived on the second day of registration at 3am; the city of Pittsburgh is dead. Not a soul aside from the zombie like registration workers in the Steeler’s Stadium.
Time to Kill
Since registration is 1-2 days before the audition there is time to kill. The best part of this was being able to see the city we traveled to and make memories.
We met so many talented people. My best friend brought his guitar and we found a wonderful acoustic setting under an archway off the river. Several musicians flocked to our jam session and we all shared our talents, dreams and back stories. To this day I am still Facebook friends with Geneieve (subscribe to her YouTube MissFareira) and love watching her new videos. Although the city and networking was fun we were all a bundle of nerves for what was to come.
I will just let you read on to see how it went…
5am bright and early in line for American Idol. This was it we were standing next to the possible next American Idol winner! Some lines were escorted into the stadium while ours were instructed to go the the steps leading to Heinz Field. I feel like they flimed a billion takes of us yelling at the top of our lunges “AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 11 WHOOO” which is horrible for your vocal chords. We were released to the stadium which was filled of hopes, dreams and passion. Singers displaying their talents left and right; there was a lot of heart that early in the morning.
Singing Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” got the whole crowd roaring. Everyone was ready to do their thing and lay it all out there for the judges. The first group left to line up in front of 1 of 10 tents they had set up. As many were rejected the crowd cheered for each person who got sent to the next step of the audition process. There was a lot of support from the talent. Although after several hours of waiting the day got old quickly.
After 13 hours of anticipating our shot it was finally our turn to approach the 10 white tents in hopes of being pushed to the next step of the audition process. We were incredibly nervous, I think I was going to vomit. When we got closer the American Idol reps broke us off in groups of 4 and instructed our group to line up at tent 8. We watched group after group get 10 seconds per person to show what they had. This judge was a tough one; 6 groups sang no one was passed to the next level and it had been a couple hours since someone got the go ahead. We were ready. My friend went first singing 10 seconds of an original piece. She, the judge, pointed to me and I went for it with Kelly Clarkson’s “For a Moment Like This.” Finally my friends brother who has won many singing competitions sang a 10 second Lady Gaga excerpt beautifully; if anyone got a yes it’d be him. The judge sat back in her chair, arms folded and said “you sound great but not today” and sent us our way.
THIRTEEN HOURS and that is all she had to say?!!! Regardless of the outcome we did what we set out to do. Today I reflect on it and when I share the story I occasionally get “you really did?” Yes I did, I tried out and it was worth it. It is better to try and fail than to live in regret. And if you think I took that no and never tried again you’d be extremely wrong! Check back for stories of when I audition for The Voice. The comparison of the audition process is as different as black and white. If you have stories from auditioning comment below followed by a #hayliestory.