Well, that happened!
One minute — or rather, several hours — I’m sitting in a room with a bunch of singing, happy, crazy, kooky, focused music lovers all hoping to be the next big talent on The Voice.
Then I sang! I sang a whole verse and a chorus.
Then I walked out, and I went home.
And that was it.
Several hours led up to one final moment that felt, well, anticlimactic.
But, hey, at least I can say I did it. And the experience was not what I expected at all.
When I signed up for The Voice auditions, I was given a time to come in. It was sometime in the early morning. I had to leave San Diego at the crack of dawn and drive right up there. I was SO scared that I was going to miss my time slot because the traffic was horrendous (thanks, LA!). However, once I finally found the spot, hastily parked my car, ran to the elevator, and inched closer to the top floor, what I found was an empty marquee outside of the building where hopefuls were sitting inside, waiting.
“I’m here for the 9:10 am, Group A? Can I go in this way?” I asked the security outside.
“Absolutely! Walk through the ropes and head in to check in.”
The ropes were empty! What was that about? I stepped inside and a large room with tables on one end of it was next. There were lines roped off in front of the tables, and no one was in line.
“Right this way” Another security told me, after she took a quick peak inside my purse.
I walked down the long and empty room and chose a table. The lady greeted me with a smile, scanned my ticket into the audition, and had me proceed into a hallway and into a next room.
Now this room. This is where they were keeping all of the people!
We were all lined up in chairs, about 20 or so to a row. They counted us out and had us seated immediately. This waiting area was STAGE ONE, as we all started to call it. Some of the “professionals” who had done this rodeo once or twice before, were letting us rookies know how it goes. “Oh, there will be another waiting area. They aren’t taking us in after this.”
Okay, so here goes. I have to hurry up and wait. I brought snacks (white chocolate potato chips, to be exact!), water, and my iPad. But I forgot my headphones, so it was all silent apps and games for me. What felt like maybe an hour and half had passed, and they started picking up rows. Row by row they told people to stand, and row by row they disappeared into the next stage.
Finally! Our row was ushered down a hallway and placed into a MUCH, BIGGER ROOM. A HUGE, INTENSE ROOM. FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH PEOPLE. There must have been over 1,000 people in this room alone. It was much louder than the previous room and it was much more intense. I could tell we would be waiting here for quite some time. There was a snack line in the corner that sold sandwiches, chips, coffee, water. I bought another water bottle and sat back down. I was now sitting next to a lovely, thin, and fashionable brunette who was in love with Grace Potter, and a young girl with small black braids who was with her mother. She was extremely quiet and seemed to hide herself behind her eyeglasses.
We all took turns talking about music, testing our audition song choices with others, listening to people sing. There were a few instruments, and a few singalongs erupted as a result. But for the most part, I sat still, checked my iPad, freaked out over my song choice, checked my iPad again, double checked the lyrics of my song choice so that I would not forget them, and then checked my makeup because oh yeah, I forgot I was wearing that and I am pretty sure I wiped my eyes about a million times right now!
This room was the worst.
At first it was really fun. Everybody was so excited! It felt like we were ALL going to be on the voice. Only a few people truly seemed nervous, at least in the group that I was surrounded by. Voices sang out loudly and clearly, filling up almost half the room with boasting renditions of Sia and Etta James alike. We took our photos next to huge The Voice posters. We people watched and even witnessed a girl who seemed to be on all sorts of adrenaline, dancing and frollicking around the entire room.
Then, an hour passed. And another. And another.
Now, those same boasting voices were ringing in my ears. Their notes intertwined with the people singing on the other side of the room, creating creepy and eerie dissonance that was slowly driving me mad. People kept asking me questions that I did not know the answer to. “Do you think they forgot about us?” “Do you think the producers went to lunch?” “Is Adam Levine here?” The frolicking girl was now full on raging, and had to be controlled by one of the shepherds of these musical sheep.
And then, as if the moment would never truly come, our rows were being selected. They lined us up at the back of the room in groups of ten. We stood there, all giddy and restless as we realized what was next! The next step was the producers! We were going to sing for The Voice!
Our groups of ten were marched down hallways, up stairs, around corners, and each was stopped outside of a small room. They gave us the rundown before we entered, and then when we walked in, we were left on our own. It was quiet and dark, and the chairs that we were to sit in and the spot that we were to stand at seemed hellishly far from the producer we were singing for. Five chairs on the left. Five chairs on the right. A few chairs in the back for parents. And a producer sitting all the way on the other side of the room staring at a laptop. That was it.
We were not asked anything about ourselves. Simply instructed to step onto the mark when our name was called and tell him what song we would be singing.
The shy girl with the glasses suddenly went into a soulful and stirring rendition of an Etta James’ song. She seemed to channel the soul of the songstress herself as she sung this piece well beyond her year.
The fashionable brunette did an energetic performance of a Grace Potter song, complete with her own flair and movement and bounce as she had fun with it.
One hopeful sang a traditional song in Chinese.
A skinny blonde with a hip t-shirt announced that she had just become a US citizen, and then sang Lady Marmalade.
It was my turn. I announced that I was singing “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. I started off slow and low, trying my best to use my lower alto register to feature the tones of my voice. Then I took it up an octave and belted the chorus with what I hoped was fervor and passion fueling my notes.
After everyone sang, the producer asked Lady Marmalade to stay and sing another song, then he said to the rest of us, “Okay everyone, thank you so much, keep working on your craft and I hope you have a good day.”
It felt like it had only taken us five minutes to do all of that. I’m sure it was more, but in a sudden rush, it was over. Several hours for fifteen minutes or so.
We all looked just as confused as we exited. Some people immediately left and headed towards the parking garage downstairs. Some of us mumbled, “Wait, that’s it?” “So, we didn’t get it?” “So, is she going to be on the show?” “Will anyone contact us later?” More questions I did not know the answer to.
At first I felt upset. But then I reminded myself that I finally took this experience, and it was unlike any other experience I would ever have while auditioning for something. And if I can audition for The Voice and still feel like a great singer, then I can tackle a musical theater audition in San Diego, or a karaoke contest at my favorite local bar. I had sat through hours of the worst audition torture — anything after this should be a piece of cake.
But — I will never do it again. I don’t think I need to repeat that experience to get the full benefit of it. And I don’t think I’d ever win the lottery that is auditioning for The Voice.
But hey, I did it! And though it was tedious, it was fun.
15. Audition for a national talent show.