I've gotten a lot of phone calls, texts and Facebook messages since last night's American Idol - Dallas Premier. For those of you who asked, yes... That was me. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, last night on Idol There were two screen shots of me during the show in my little yellow dress and big arrow sign. LOL.
Here's one of the clips, compliments of my friend Derek who sent me an email congratulating me on my .15 seconds of fame.
Last summer I had been praying, asking the Lord what HE wanted me to do with the blessings He had given me. I am a bit shy when it comes to singing and started feeling guilty for not sharing this gift that I felt I had been blessed with. The next day I was online and came across the American Idol website where it listed the time and dates of all upcoming auditions. Apparently they had already begun and the audition here in Dallas was to take place in two weeks. So, I decided to put my big girl pants on and give it another go around.
I auditioned when I was 17 in St. Louis and made it to the second round of auditions where I, apparently, sat in a room with Carrie Underwood for an entire day and never even knew it. My second audition took place at 9:00 at night, after we had been there since 8:00 that morning. I sang in front of an executive producer, Ken, who told me I had a great voice but I just wasn't unique enough for what they were looking for in the show. Heart broken I went to college and got my degree in Kinesiology.
5 years later I found myself headed to auditions once again. Here's a little bit about my experience.
Auditions take place during the weekend but you have to show up and get a wrist band and a ticket before showing up to auditions. The line opened up at 8:00 on Thursday morning, knowing how the process worked I knew that those who got their wrist bands first, auditioned first so I drove out to Arlington at 11:00 Wednesday night with my folding chair and a blanket. I sat in line the entire night about 300 people from the front and at 8:15 the next morning I got my wrist band, went home and slept for 3 hours before heading to work that afternoon. At this point the only people who knew I was auditioning were my mom and Josh.
The next day I got up at 4:00am and headed back out to Cowboy Stadium. It was incredibly packed, cars and people and camera crews EVERYWHERE. I had made some friends Wednesday night in line and they were kind enough to save me a spot in line that morning. Once the sun started to rise the producers came out and started to explain the filming process, we would be doing a lot of screaming, yelling, smiling and jumping around for the next hour as they got their shots for the opening scenes. I had this HUGE sign that I had made the night before. It was a big arrow that pointed to my head as I held it up, on one side it read, "Your Next Idol" and on the other it said, "Hollywood Bound." Apparently the producers loved my sign so they pulled me out of the crowd and moved me right in front of the camera... Front and center. After several takes they finally opened the doors and let us into the stadium.
I quickly found my seat and started the waiting game. They made us sing Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" over, and over, and over, and over again. It was our city song and they made everyone memorize it so that when they had terrible people audition they could make them sing it for their montage. So sad. At 10:30 the audition process finally began.
There were 12 tables spaced out on the floor of Cowboy Stadium, each one had two judges and the tables were separated by a black cloth. In front of each table there were 4 X's, auditioners would come up in 4 lines to each table. The "judges" which were actually just crew members would point to one of the 4 in front of the line and say, "sing." They would give you maybe 20 seconds to sing and then stop you and move onto the person beside you. After hearing all 4 in line sing they would ask those they liked or weren't sure of to sing another song, after that they would talk to one another and then go down the line saying "Yes" or "No." If you were a no you walked to the "Non Winner's Door" as they called it, get your wrist band cut off and you would be on your way. It was pretty dramatic.
My turn finally came and I was the very left person in our line of 4. It was myself, an interesting looking girl and two guys. Lucky for me, one of my judges was the guy that picked me to stand in front of the camera earlier that morning, he recognized me and shot me a grin, then asked me to sing. This go around I had decided that if I did make the show I would make it known that my ultimate goal is to become a Christian recording artist. I would be honored to stand up next to some of those who have inspired me; Brook Fraiser, Bethany Dillon, Francesca Bettistelli... just to name a few :). SO I picked "Amazing Grace" as my audition song. After all, it is because of HIS amazing grace that I was there in the first place. To my surprise they let me sing the entire first verse then moved onto the ones around me. After everyone had finished singing they came back to me and asked if I could sing another song, something more upbeat. So I sang the first song that came to my head, "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oats, lol. The judges talked amongst themselves and then pointed to the two guys and said, "Thanks for auditioning, you're just not what we're looking for this year" and sent them on their way. They asked the interesting girl next to me and myself to stay. I looked at the judge and said, "I made it?" He nodded and I broke down crying. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and so excited to move on. They handed me my golden ticket, I grabbed it, turned around to the audience of 10,000 in the stadium, held it in the air crying and the entire place started to cheer. It was unreal!!!
After getting my ticket I went into one of the floor suites at the stadium which they were using as the "Winner's Door." I had my picture taken and then filled out this HUGE packet that asked millions of questions about me and my life. This is where they get your "story." You know those sob stories that they love so much... After that they give you this talk about not talking to press/newspapers, etc... then give you the info for the next audition and send you on your way.
I walked out of the stadium "winner's door" and ran into the invited press (that we WERE allowed to talk to) and was grabbed by this cute little blonde with a mic and camera crew. After about 5 seconds I realized that it was Alexis Grace from season 8. She interviewed me and then hugged me and said good luck. I thought that was pretty cool. Then I ran into a news crew that asked me what I thought of the late Michael Jackson's passing (this had just happened at this point). That clip of me ended up on the news that night and a picture of me ended up on the front page of the news paper the next day. HAHA, I was dying it was so weird.
The next round of auditions wasn't until two weeks later and took place in Dallas at the W hotel. We were allowed to bring family with us to this audition so I decided to ask Athena, my little sister, to tag along with me. We got to Dallas around 6:30 in the morning, grabbed some McDonalds and then stood in line. They brought us into this room with roughly 100 chairs in three sections. They gave you a number and you had to sit in your assigned seat and wait to be auditioned. We would audition in front of the producers and if you make it past that round you would go upstairs to audition in front of the executive producers, once you made it there you would come back in another couple of weeks and audition for the celebrity judges.
Lucky for me (please read that as dripping with sarcasm) I was 7th from last to audition that day. I sat there all morning and two hours after lunch watching people take their turn. About one in every 10 had been making it through to the next audition that morning. After lunch 1 in ever 30 was going through, if that. My turn came, I walked into a small room where there were about 5 people sitting at a long table. They looked up at me, talked amongst themselves and then asked me to sing. They did not look at me once during my song and once I was done, without looking up, they said "Thank you, but we've heard much better talent than that today." It felt as if they had made their decision before I had even walked through the door. I walked out without a ticket and my sister was standing there, arms wide open. She was so angry that the judges didn't let me through and made me feel like a million dollars telling me that they were dumb and had made a mistake. And with that my journey was ended.
I won't lie... It is really difficult to have someone tell you that you aren't good enough. But to have my sister there was such a blessing, she was so sad but I was able to continue smiling and to tell her genuinely that God has something else planned for my life and that even though I didn't make it, I was really happy that I gave it a shot. I could have regretted it later if I hadn't.
A couple of weeks later I met with the worship leader at our church and asked him about serving at our church. Not two weeks later I was up on stage singing with our praise and worship band. I have been singing at our church ever since and feel so strongly that this is where God needs me right now. It's been a blessing to me to have this opportunity and I am so thankful.
With all of that being said, it is a tiny bit embarrassing that everyone saw me on American Idol and that I didn't make it... BUT God is SO good, so loving, faithful and full of grace and He has my life headed in a different direction. He is all knowing and I trust His plan for my life wholeheartedly. I have no regrets in auditioning, if anything it helped me to see His plan more clearly and I cannot wait to see what He has in store for my life these next few years!