So, as you may have already assumed, I am NOT the next American Idol. Shocking isn't it? I know you all assumed I would be, right?!! Hahahaaa... Well, I didn't think so. Maybe that was half of my problem in the first place? Who knows.
The trip to Austin was awesome! First of all, as a child from a brood of 9 getting to take a vacation with my mother all alone simply can't be beat! We walked around downtown where our fantastic hotel was, found some treasures in the cutest little vintage shops, ate some great food, had a few drinks, went to the spa and of course found a mall....it was a blast!!
We showed up to get in line at 5am the morning of tryouts and sat on the sidewalk with thousands crowded around us for 2 hours with a cricket infestation until they finally let us in to find our numbered seats. It was regular weather for Texas in July, about 85 degrees already with a humid stickiness in the air that made it impossible not to sweat! We were smiling though and just having fun taking in all the entertainment around us. People had their guitars and ukulele's out, they were singing their 'showiest' songs and the smell of competition was thick in the air.
Ryan Seacrest made an appearance and judging from the complete insanity of the 15,000 people around me, this was apparently supposed to be extremely exciting! He definitely looked like ....a guy. I will say he has a lovely speaking voice, which is why he's managed to make the big bucks I'm sure. I'm serious, everything he said was very clear and fluid. He had impeccable pronunciation and great stage presence. He did the whole "THIS is American Idol!!" thing and had us clap/sing/flash our cameras on cue for about 10 takes and then said good luck and we never saw him again.
'Cowboy Casanova' by Carrie Underwood is the song of choice for Austin tryouts. They had us memorize it and sing it over and over and over and shot a bunch of footage. That will be the song contestants who made it through will sing in front of the camera to play during the Austin tryouts episode. This part was actually really fun! They had a music instructor of sorts singing with us and getting everyone all pumped and energized for our big moment...
...so on to the big moment...
On the TV, it appeared that Simon, Randy, and the other judges sat and endured all of the thousands of hopefuls and that your ticket to Hollywood was in their hands at that one audition. Right? I mean, that's what we all thought, wasn't it??
So, you can imagine the shock on every one's face when a crew came out and set up 10 tables across the floor with a curtain in between each one. Then, 15-20 judges came out and sat down and we were told how the auditions would go. We would herd down, section at a time, to the floor. At that point we'd be lined up 4 across at each judges table with 2-3 groups of 4 waiting in line behind us. We'd be pointed at, step forward, sing for approximately 10 seconds, stopped and then the next followed the same. While you were singing, so were the people at the other 9 tables. The two judges at our table would talk behind their clipboards for a few seconds and then dismiss us.
I'm telling ya, I heard the theme song from 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' in my head when I stepped forward. I wasn't nervous, just focused. I just wanted to do the very best that I could with my ten seconds. I belted out my version of Faith Hill's 'If I'm Not In Love With You' and felt(and still feel) confident with how I did. I've been singing my whole life and I'm my own worst critic. There have been times, many, when I didn't feel I did my very best. This time I did and I'm thankful for that. It leaves me with no regrets or hard feelings. What more can a person do than their best? Nothing.
There were around 50 out of ~15,000 who auditioned that were not dismissed. The crowd roared each time somebody made it through. That's when, for me, the jig was up!! I saw people with beautiful smiles and voices full of talent dismissed and the 400lb dude wearing no shirt and the Texas flag as a cape who couldn't sing allowed through! He may have been a nice fellow, but honestly I was stunned. As brilliant as I may find myself to be at times(and those times do exist:)....this time I felt like a total airhead! I realized what was happening when I found out that all the people who made it through in Austin that day, were asked to return in October to audition in front of those famous four judges we see on the show! Get it?
J-Lo, Steven Tyler and Randy will go to each audition city and see the small select group handpicked for show. This means when you watch the show in January every single one of those contestants made it through the summer auditions and were asked to return by their own means to that audition city again in the fall to appear in front of the real judges. 'The good, the bad and the ugly'. This made me feel bad for a lot of them right away. Somebody like Simon Cowell saying to a hopeful singer..."Who ever told you that you could sing should be shot" or.."You're the worst singer I've ever heard" just didn't make sense to me anymore. People spend time and money again to make a trip when those judges know very well why they picked them and that they would be wasting their time and money indeed.
I couldn't be angry. It all fit together now and honestly a show that is ranked #1 in the country needs no other explanation! It's all a genius work of art, put together by a vast, intelligent team of people who know EXACTLY what it takes to get the viewers to tune in....and I'll be one of them!! It's a fun show to watch, especially if you have an itch for singing and entertainment! You bet I'm gonna try to pick myself out in those crowd shots with Seacrest during the Austin episode and I'm happy I did it! I'm proud of myself for following through with something I've had on my bucket list for years. Now I can watch the show with a whole new set of eyes and I'm sure that will be fun in itself!
It was a crazy machine, but totally worth the ride. How can you feel bummed after a few fun days away with your mom? You can't! Life will take you where it goes and it's much more enjoyable when you don't let road blocks hold you up too much. Usually, or I guess in my experience anyway, something bigger and better is always waiting around the corner after a disappointment. I wonder what it is?? It's never what I think it is and that seems to work out for the best, so I guess you just have to keep grabbing life by the horns and hold on!!! After all, it's all these experiences, good, bad and ugly, that give us wisdom and clarity of mind.