There is a reality TV Hollywood secret… You’d think you sign up with 10,000 other people in a big ol’ city and wait in a long line to see Simon, Paula and Randy, but that is just not the case! I think Paula would have lost her mind if she had to see one thousand auditions, let alone ten thousand!
There are 3 rounds of American Idol before you meet Simon. It starts off in a giant arena just as you see on TV. There’s Ryan Seacrest, 10 producers and A LOT of cameras. You take an entire day to wait in line so you can audition the NEXT day! Everyone was told to be there at 7am…you’re freakin out because your voice isn’t warm, you haven’t been able to get good sleep and you’ve been chatting it up with your line-mates like you’re at summer-camp:) I guess in all the excitement I didn’t understand how long it would take to audition ten thousand people… just because we were there at 7am doesn’t mean that’s when any of us were singing.
After we sung a Prince song for a promo and had Ryan Seacrest talk to us about what it is to be an American Idol, there are auditions throughout the day for, randomly, one of ten young producers. They listen to your song decide if you should go to the next round or not. Out the right door for “no” and the left door for “yes.” I had a seat high up in the arena so you can really see the Idol circus below. Droves of hopeful contestants were going out the “right” door like ants following each other to the food. So every so often, from my vantage point, one DOT got the golden ticket and went out the left door. The arena screeched and screamed! All of the sudden it felt possible!
It was my turn and I was auditioning for a producer named Joe. Joe explained he couldn’t shake my hand because after a thousand handshakes he was bound to catch something. I sang so loud that all the cameras catching candid shots of the other performers turned to me! I thought I was a shoe in! The judges looked at me skeptically… at this giant human in a full singing sweat and asked if I had a counter piece that would show something else. Man oh man, I didn’t even practice this one, but I was thinking about it…and they say that if you practice intently in your mind it is kiiiiinda like actually practice 🙂 🙂 🙂 I sang “Killing Me Softly” and they enthusiastically gave me the golden ticket. I was shaking, it was so validating and unbelievable at the same time! I hollered to the arena of auditioners and they roared back!
Two more rounds and a bunch of interviews later, I saw Simon, Paula, Randy and singer/songwriter Jewel! Less than 1% got picked for round 4, out of ten thousand contestants that fancied themselves vocalists! Nervous and exhausted, too bad so sad, I didn’t make it to Hollywood. Even though Jewel REALLY pulled for me; it wasn’t in the cards 🙂 In the following months my friends, family and a bunch of strangers saw me on TV… it was the validation I needed to keep pursuing music.
If you’d like to hear what kind of singer I turned out to be since then, I’d like you to have a song that I wrote for free!
It would really mean a lot to me if you listened to it and let me know what you thought about it and my American Idol experience. I would love to hear from you!