Preston auditioned in Dallas this week, he didn’t make it to the 2nd round, unfortunately, but he was kind enough to recap every thrilling moment just for us. Heh. Enjoy.
How can you say no to auditioning to be a part of your favorite show? After having tried out last year in San Antonio (with my friend Carrie, not auditioning) and Memphis (where I met Gina Glocksen and hung out while we registered), both unsuccessfully, I was ready to head to Dallas to give it a shot’ but with a bigger group, as the day can become boring as you wait.
So, the journey began Sunday afternoon at about 2:00, heading to Dallas with my friend Cody (driving, not auditioning, enjoys outrageous lying) and Carrie (good friend, auditioning, enjoys biting people). The drive is only two hours, and we picked up Leslie (another good friend, auditioning, enjoys self-depreciation), who lives in Dallas. Our first mistake was probably waiting until Sunday afternoon to register’ if you plan auditioning, by all means go the first day of registration around midday to afternoon so you avoid the pointless line but still get to audition at a reasonable time on the actual day.
Anyways, after auditioning we settled down at Cody sister fiancee apartment, which was quite a gift since we were planning on laying it out for a decent hotel room. We were good kids and only stayed out till ten (that not really …staying out, though, is it?…), so we could get up around 5 the next morning to be in line about 6. Another mistake there. At registration, they tell you to line up between 5 and 6. But really, as long as youre there by 8am or so youll still get in not too far behind those who got there really early. We didnt even get in the stadium until 9:30 ¦ so that 3.5 hours in line that could have easily been two hours less (with two more sleep hours ¦ and man, we needed it, considering the day ahead). What do you do in line for that long, you ask? Well, every 10 minutes or so, youll move about 3 steps ahead, so youve got that to look forward to. And the line gets tighter as you go, so if you like close spaces, youll love that too. And do I have to mention all the …lovely voices serenading the queue? Seriously though, bring some blankets to relax on if you wait ¦ the standing gets tiring. I also brought some food’ peanuts, cheezits, oreos, water, etc. in case hunger struck. The peanuts (honey roasted, in case youre wondering?) were a big hit’ really, no one could keep their hands off my nuts (and that ¦ was a theme that kept us entertained all day). Around 9:30, we finally got to the entrance, where …security ladies checked bags to remove any bottles of water, other drinks, food, laptops, bombs, the usual. So they took my nuts ¦ but I wasnt going to let that happen, was I? So after we passed, I ran back, grabbed my nuts, and stuffed them in my bag. I was an official nut smuggler. And we were pleased.
We found our seats in section 8 ¦ which I found out would be the second-to-last section to audition. I figured ¦ 4 or 5 pm at the latest. As we entered, the first thing I noticed was the heat ¦ extreme heat. One of Texas Stadium wonderful architectural details is a large hole in the roof, and through said hole comes much Texas sun. And much Texas sun means much Texas sweat and exhaustion, but we took our seats anyways. Another mistake there. Not only were we miserably hot, but we also had to suffer through a pack of clueless divas behind us roaring along happily to the day theme song, the Doobie Brothers …Listen To The Music. After about, I dunno, 50 run-throughs of the chorus and awareness of the increasingly sweltering heat, we moved to a section in the shade (doh ¦). Oh, and one of the cheers they had the crowd do was something like …season seven starts in Dallas! so maybe theyre planning on opening the show in January with Dallas.
I figure Ill throw something in about the setup of it all’ on the field, from endzone to endzone were lined 13 tables underneath tents. At each table is a producer or two, and the crowd is taken down one row at a time, lined up into groups of four, then sent to a table. One at a time, each person steps forward under the tent and sings until the producer cuts them off. Once everyone sang, the producer(s) would call the four singers to the table with their decision. When a golden ticket was won, that person would stay behind, give their information, then head to a room off to the side. Everyone else bracelets are cut before they take the …walk of shame up a(n entirely-too-long) ramp to the outside.
So, once in the cool section, the auditions began (about 10 am), but with only three tables at a time. It took about 5 minutes for the first girl to receive the elusive golden ticket, and then they started coming fairly regularly (at least one or two every few minutes). Eventually most of the tables were open (11 of about 13), and the crowd in the stands began to slowly but surely thin up. Once it got to be noon and only two sections had finished, we knew it was going to be a long day ¦ we sat, talked, mostly chilled (ironic term, considering the heat), and snacked on my nuts. We wished we had brought binoculars so we could see the tents up close, as well as the faces of everyone who made it through. It kind of hard to imagine the next Melinda or Blake was one of the ordinary-looking people walking out with their golden tickets.
Several people tend to catch the eye of everyone around them (including a …Dan-jaya kid from Ohio with a ponyhawk), but the …celebrity of the day, if you will, was a 21-ish guy (I didnt catch his name) in a flowery dress and god-awful black wig. He walked around the entire stadium throughout the day offering his take on Total Eclipse Of The Heart, including non-stop shouting, foot-pounding, fist shaking, and a most dangerous kind of look in the eyes. Half of me found him annoying, half entertaining. It was obvious he wasnt serious, but it was good for a laugh. About 3 he finally made it to the tables and, of course, he got his golden ticket. Nigel & Ken may not let him through to the judges, but I bet youll see him on the show.
About that time the heat in the stadium became unbearable (even in the shade, it had to be at least 85-90 degrees), so we moved to the gateways where what little a/c there was could be felt. We listened to many hopeless singer warble their way through Whitney ballads ¦ and if they were off key, we sang off key with them. It usually shut them up. When we realized the section before us was beginning to go, we warmed up, changed, and headed back to our seats.
We didnt make it onto the field until about 7:30 pm ¦ after 13.5 long, hot hours of waiting, waiting, and waiting (but with much laughter). Carrie, Leslie and I had originally intended on singing in different groups to improve our chances, but it ended up with Carrie in one group and Leslie and me in the other. We ended up at table three, with Carrie at table four. Carrie went before us, singing …Something To Talk About, which she really ripped through quite well. Still her entire group was cut. Honestly, from what I could hear, I would cut all of them as well ¦ Carrie good, but she young (18), a little rough, and a little uncontrolled ¦. But er enthusiasm is great.
Then came our group ¦ we had one guy producer as judge. I was first, and I sang …Bridge Over Troubled Water. At the end of the verse, he held up his hand as if to stop me, but I said …can I keep going? and he nodded ¦ so I finished the chorus and he looked kind of interested. He said …that was pretty good ¦ can you sing something else? Well, I didnt think Id be asked to sing something else, but Id prepared Paul Anka …Put Your Head On My Shoulder anyway ¦ I told him what Id sing, and he looked confused at the choice but let me sing anyway. After about 20 seconds of that, he stopped me and thanked me. I was satisfied and more hopeful than after my previous auditions; I thought I had done fairly well.
The next two group members went, and then Leslie sang …That All (covered by Michael Buble). She didnt even get to the chorus before he stopped her (she later wished she had sung her other choice ¦ an upbeat Otis Redding number). He called us to the table and said …thanks for coming, but it a no for all four of you. Were looking for a little more ¦ something a little different, but thanks again. So our bracelets were snapped and we left, tired and hungry (we had burgers for $5 around 2pm, but I guess neither them nor the nuts were that filling). I admit I was a little disappointed, but I was still content with how it went down. Apparently he saw something in me, but the second song didnt do me any favors. Looking back, I should have sung something a little more current (Id worked on James Blunt …Cry but for some reason chose the older, broader Anka tune). But wed all had a blast ¦ I havent laughed so much in weeks.
Will I do it again? Actually, yeah. Auditions are nerve-wracking and exhausting, but the actual singing is always fun and quite thrilling for me. Im not sure Ill ever make it through with idol ¦ but I love singing and performing, and really, classical/Broadway is where I shine most (Im studying classical vocal performance at Vanderbilt), but maybe one of these days Ill be what theyre looking for. And if I am, Ill let yall know.
As we headed home, stuffed with CiCi pizza (I cant get over what a bargain that place is), Carrie was messing around with Cody while he was driving. He said to her (jokingly), …get your filthy hands offa me ¦ I dont know where theyve been! And Leslie added, …I do ¦
¦theyve been on Preston nuts all day.