Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.Have you ever wondered what's its like to audition for the hit TV show, "American Idol"? I had always wondered myself, and two years ago I decided to stop wondering and actually go to an audition. This is my story of what happened at my Idol audition.
I auditioned for the ninth season of "American Idol" in Dallas two years ago. The auditions were held Friday, June 26, 2009, at the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The thousands of us there were among some of the first people to see the new stadium, which was exciting. I had several songs prepared to audition with, because I had heard that the judges may ask you to sing several pieces, so I had about four songs ready, just in case.
The audition process actually began the night before the actual singing audition. I picked up my ticket and turned in my entrance forms at the stadium. Once I had everything turned in, they gave me a wristband to make it official, and told me not to take it off. From there, I headed to my hotel for the night to relax and prepare for the next day. Many other Idol hopefuls were staying the same place that I was, and it was cool to check out all my competition. Seeing them got me excited and made me realize that the audition I had been preparing for was finally here!
The morning of my audition, I awoke very early to prepare myself for the big day. I headed to the stadium around 6:00 A.M., and there was already a large line formed waiting for the doors to open. I stood in line about 20-30 minutes with other "auditionees", before they finally let us in the stadium to our assigned seats. Once everyone was seated, the Idol staff taught us our "audition song" which was "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson. We sang it as a group while the cameras were rolling, and then at the end shouted, "I'M THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL!". Once we were done with that, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders performed for us. After about an hour of all these preliminaries, the actual auditions started. Auditions were conducted one section at a time, starting with section one. I was in section 118, so you can imagine how long it took for my section to audition. I waited around six hours before I finally went with my row to the bottom of the stadium where the judges were. Once you were on the floor, everything went so fast. You realized that all the waiting around and preparing was over and it came down to this one moment.
I figured that I probably wouldn't even get through all of my first song, because of how many people the judges have to go through, but I was very wrong. I ended up performing three of the four songs I prepared. The first song I sang was "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane. I jazzed it up a little bit with my own style. I got through most of that song until they stopped me and asked me to sing another. Next, I sang "Blues in the Night", an old jazz song by Ella Fitzgerald. I performed that song and then they asked me to sing something more recent. My last song was "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles. I tried to choose less popular songs to sing, considering that there were around 11,000 people auditioning that day. (The last thing you want to do is sing a song that the judges have heard twenty times already.)
The fact that I made it through three songs had me really excited, because as I was standing in line waiting to sing, I saw that most people were cut after singing the first few bars of their first song. The three judges deliberated after what seemed like an eternity, and called me up to their table. One judge told me that they really liked my voice, but I needed to make what I was singing "more believable." So, I was cut from the competition. I learned a lesson that day though. I was so caught up in nerves that I was simply just singing the songs, instead of expressing the emotion of the songs. Music is all about emotion, and if I would have put more feeling into the songs, I probably would have made it past that round of auditions. I don't regret what happened though, because ever since then, I have made sure to find the emotion in songs when I sing them, instead of just singing pointless words.
The judges of this round were actually producers of the show. Instead of Randy, Simon, and Paula at one table, there were about ten different audition tables, with three producers at each one. I was assigned to sing at table six. I was a little disappointed about the audition process as a whole, because on TV, they make it look like you go right into auditions with the three main judges, but in reality, you go through several phases of auditions before you ever get to meet them.
The Dallas audition as a whole was on television, which aired on Fox January 28, 2010. In this particular audition, not many individual auditions were filmed. They got more crowd shots and interviewed individual people rather than taping auditions.
One of my favorite parts of the auditions was the diverse mix of people there. There was singing and music everywhere. At one point I took a walk through the stadium to stretch my legs, and everywhere people were in groups singing. People sang in the concessions line--people sang in the bathroom--it was like one big musical! I bonded with the people that were sitting around me, which was also really fun. We practiced our songs in front of each other and talked about the process. We also laughed at the strange people in the section next to us that were dressed in angel wings and gold underwear. There was a guy in the next section who made it on TV obviously because of how off-key he was. He was aware of it, but wasn't shy about singing loudly so everyone could hear him. As annoying as these people were, they were definitely entertaining, and the audition process wouldn't have been the same without them. After all, what is Idol without the horrible singers?
My least favorite part was the fact that the show isn't all that it seems to be in terms of the audition process. Only about 30-40 people made it out of the 11,000 that were there. Many people at this audition had amazing voices, and sadly, out of that 30-40 people, about 15 of those people were put through just for entertainment purposes, either because they had dressed up, or just flat out sang horribly. This is where I realized that it's a reality show, and not always about the best singers.
After auditioning, many people asked me if I was going to audition again. I was not against the idea, but being a year away, I knew that things could happen to prevent me from trying again. By the next summer, I had a job and other things to prepare for, and Idol was not a priority for me. I realized that I would rather stay in school and get closer to finishing my degree. It was very awesome to say that I was a part of season 9 auditions, and the story is fun to share with friends. The main reason I decided to audition for "American Idol" was because I had always wondered what it would be like. I wouldn't take the experience back for anything, and I encourage anyone who has always wanted to audition to go for it. You never know what could happen!
Even though I did not go back last year to try again, I am still pursuing a career in performing. I am currently a musical theater major, and love every minute of it. I'm being trained not only to sing, but in theater and dance as well. For me, Idol was not a life or death situation, and even though I was a little bummed about not making it, I realized that it was just one opportunity out of many. Not making it on Idol actually opened some doors for me. Had I been on the show, I would have had to take a year off of school. This last fall I transferred schools to be in a program better suited for me, and my first semester here I got to experience so many things that I otherwise would not have gotten to be a part of.
I could not imagine pursuing any other career besides music. I've been involved with music my whole life, and plan to continue to pursue it as long as possible. American Idol provided me with a great opportunity to share my love of music with people I would otherwise have never met. Even though I cannot add "American Idol finalist" to my name, I am thankful for the experience.