That's right...for those of you who didn't already know, this past summer I auditioned for American Idol! Obviously - not too much came of it (past the second round anyway) because I'm still here...working, paying bills, still living my normal life. But I wanted to share with you my experience because it's honestly NOTHING like you see on T.V. (shocking, I know)
The city I auditioned in was St. Louis, MO. It was the very first stop for AI auditions. You had the choice to register on Sunday or Monday. I chose Sunday so we could have all of Monday to hang out in St. Louis before auditions on Tuesday! You are allowed to have one person with you at the first round of auditions. My mom let Kate go with me to be my one guest - she said she couldn't have handled the nerves! ha! Once Kate and I got all registered, we headed to dinner with my mom and rushed back to our hotel room so we could watch Pretty Little Liars! [priorities, people]
|right after I registered!|
|Mine and Kate's wristbands!|
|at dinner in downtown|
|the St. Louis view from our hotel room|
We woke up on Monday and headed to the St. Louis Galleria. (If you ever get the chance to go...GO!! Great stores. H&M. And a few other stores you can't find in Arkansas!) We spent most of the day out and about on Monday with a few adventures that afternoon...getting lost in St. Louis, ending up in Illinois, me screaming obscenities at my GPS, and almost running out of gas. But no worries. We ended up safe and sound!)
|My two biggest fans...being silly and trying on hats!!|
|my "lucky" Pandora ring that my mom bought me!|
*Note: I guess the ring wasn't lucky after all...since I ended up losing it about a month ago. Oops.*
Then Tuesday came. The day of auditions!!! Let me say this: I had NO CLUE what to expect out of this day. Of course I had heard of how it might go. I even tried to research other blogs of people who had auditioned to see if I could find anything out. But no such luck. [hence why I'm writing this post].
MORNING OF AUDITION: So they tell you to show up at 5:00 that morning to wait in line to go inside. I've come to find out, the only reason they tell you to show up that early is so they can get their "crowd shots" outside. There is no one checking you in at this point or making sure you are or aren't there. You literally stand/sit on concrete outside (rain or shine - thankfully no rain for us!) until 8:00. (So if you are reading this and you're going to try out - don't show up til 8:00. You aren't going to be on TV and if you are, it will only be for the local news.) They finally open the doors at 8:00 but it takes about an hour to get everyone in. (I think I remember them saying there were over 10,000 people at this audition.)
|Ready to go inside!!|
|My AMAZING buddy that day.. Kate was so good to me!!|
FINALLY INSIDE THE ARENA: When you register, they give you a wristband AND a ticket. If you don't have BOTH of these, they won't let you inside. And on your ticket, you get a seat number. Therefore, the earlier you register, the earlier you will audition. This could work in your favor. Then again, it couldn't really matter at all. Splitting the crowd into 4 parts, I would say I ended up in the 3rd part. Therefore, we got in the arena around 10:00 that morning but I didn't actually stand up to go down to audition until 2:30 p.m. Of course they keep the concession stands open - but who can eat when your nerves are going 90 to nothing? I had a bite of a chicken strip and that was it. But while you sit and wait, you make friends with all the people around you. Yes, you are competing against each other...but there's a feeling of camaraderie in the arena. You feel bad when people don't get thru. ALSO - let it be known. The judges are NO WHERE TO BE FOUND during the first couple of audition rounds. The only person who shows up (other than producers) is Ryan Secrest. He is there for literally 15 minutes to get all the "arena shots" and he leaves. Very anticlimactic.
|Blurry Ryan Secrest|
|The curtains they set up for auditions|
GETTING READY TO AUDITION: Once 2:30 came around, it was my time to audition. They take you down in a large group of around 20 people then they make you line up single filed, but there are 4 single filed lines. So you walk up to a table of one or two producers with 3 other people. You take turns to sing. Once you've all sung, they bring you forward to the table, then they go down the line saying who's made it thru and who hasn't. I saw SO MANY people get turned down that day. Pretty people. Not so pretty people. Very talented people. Not so talented people. It's honestly just the luck of the draw. At this point, these producers don't know you from adam. So they are going strictly off your voice and your look.
AUDITIONING: When it was my group's turn to go, I was with two guys and one other girl. All of which were sitting in my area so I had gotten to know them a little. One of the guys was only 16 and was pretty timid, but he was the nicest!! He wished me good luck before we stepped up to the table to sing. The producers look at you, and you start singing. Usually a person on the end starts and you just go down the line. If the producers like you, they ask you to sing a second song. When it was my turn, I sang "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga. When I was done, they asked me to sing another. So I sang "Turning Tables" by Adele (this was before it BLEW UP on the radio thankfully). When we are all done, they let us approach their table. They start saying "You guys are all talented. No matter what happens here, don't stop singing." Things of that nature. They were actually being (surprisingly) really nice!! So they tell everyone (but me) that they are free to go. They keep me at the table and start writing on a golden ticket. In my mind I am screaming "I DID IT!!! I MADE IT THROUGH!!!" But of course I kept a cool exterior! SO they ask me a few questions, they hand me my golden ticket, and they scurry me off to a back room. Before I got taken away, I got to look back at Kate (in the stands who's on the phone with my mom), I hold up my golden ticket and Kate starts jumping up and down and screaming!! Let it be known, everyone around her (the family left over) hadn't made it thru. So I'm sure she got a lot of dirty looks. But she didn't care. And that's why I love her :)
PAPERWORK GALORE: Once they take you into the back room, you go through different stations. They give you an info sheet to fill out at registration. You bring that with you and hand it over in the back room. They take pictures of you. They make you fill out a six page contract pretty much just verifying that you won't tell a soul and you don't already have a recording contract. Then they make you sit in a meeting, and they talk to you for about 30 minutes about everything you can and cannot say. Pretty much at this point, American Idol "owns" you.
SECOND ROUND OF AUDITIONS: Once you make it past the first round, they don't tell you when the second audition will be until a few weeks later. When they finally contacted me about the second audition, I made the arrangements and I was there before I knew it. This time, it was me, my cousin Taylor, and my mom! You show up and you wait outside again until you can go in. This is when you are in the banquet room of a hotel in chairs and they do all of the individual camera shots of you. I'm gonna say there were about 150 there at this second audition. And just because they record you, doesn't mean you'll be on TV. Anyway - when you finally get to go back, you audition for producers again. At this point, they have ALL of your information, they've probably Googled you to check any kind of Facebook, Twitter or blogs you might have. They know your story and they have their mind made up whether you are going through or not based purely off of that. Obviously, they know you can sing. Or they know that you are there just because you make good TV (those who can't sing that dress up in funny costumes).
|Taylor & I in front of Landry's! We had a serious carb-fest once I got told "No" haha!|
So I didn't make it past that second audition...but I'm pretty sure you had to go thru at least one or two more auditions before you got to audition for the judges. And I'm thinking 150ish out of 10,000 isn't too bad! I don't regret auditioning! It was a fun experience and I would have always asked "what if" if I wouldn't have done it!! I made some great memories, met some fabulous people (that I hope to see make it through!) and had so much fun with my family and Kate!!
I hope my sharing of my experience has helped you better understand the process. It's an interesting one...and obviously nothing like you know it to be! But hey, it still makes for good TV! :)