Everyone wants fame and fortune. That’s the gimmick that’s sold to you on television shows like The Voice or American Idol. I mean wouldn’t love to be the next Kelly Clarkson. I personally wouldn’t mind having a few billion people humming the tune to a song I wrote and I doubt anyone else would mind either. This is why I and a few hundred more people tried out for American Idol.
I was in Plover, WI visiting my father when he came up the prospect of auditioning in Greenbay in 2010 for the 2011 season. He seemed more excited than me, but I was still adamant that was going to try. What can I say? I’m a struggling musician with very little opportunities. Of course I’m going to take whatever comes my way, especially when it came to being face to face Jennifer Lopez. Do you know how awesome of a story that would be even if I didn’t make it to Hollywood? Of course you do. So the second and last day of registration came and while I was expecting the long line shown on the news the day before, my father and I faced the exact opposite. Except for me and my dad and a few other late stragglers, the sidewalk where we expected a large crowd was just about barren. One group of people that was there actually worked at a radio station based out of Chicago. After registration, which a needed two forms of official I.D. for, they came up to me and only asked questions about American Idol, and where I was from, and even asked me to sing the song I was planning to audition with so I belted out a verse and chorus of “leave the Pieces” by The Wreckers and was totally excited by the thought that my voice was going to heard on the airwaves of a local Chicago radio station alone. I was hope for the next day, which was audition day.
My father and I drove the hour and a half trip from Plover to Greenbay early in the morning like we were told to by the registrars and as we pulled up to the arena where the auditions were taking place, we were welcomed by the scene I was expecting the previous day. What you see on television is real. Signs saying “I’M THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL” in glitter were everywhere and I saw the full extent of it once we were ushered to our seats. While I was planning to see Jennifer Lopez and Randy, what I saw were producers setting up individual booths. Because I was one of the last ones to register, I was also one of the last ones to audition. You probably would’ve felt bad for me if you had seen my where I was sitting but it didn’t matter once Ryan Seacrest came out with previous contestants, told us how the auditions would work, we would have to pass the producers to get to the celebrity judges, and help all of the prospective contestants warm up.
After that, I sat there, hour after hour, getting more impatient and anxious with each rejection and excited backflip and cheer I saw. I must have changed my audition song about 10 times until I settled on “Fairytale” by Sara Bareilles. When it was me and my groups turn to audition, I thought I would puke, but I didn’t. It was pretty uneventful, now that I think about it but I also think it was unfair. I was singing the buildup to the bridge of my song, where I was supposed to belt when I was cut off and rejected suddenly. No one in my group made the cut but I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a dream, but I didn’t put much stock in it. Maybe if I had, I would be sitting on a pile of money and a five year record contract. Who knows? What I do know is that I would try this again in a heartbeat.