Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My name is Cassandra and I am not the next American Idol.

Yep, you read that right. I understand this is NOT a soaping related post, but singing is one of my other passions, so I thought I would share it here. :)

I actually decided to try out for American Idol last Friday (7/29). I only told a hand full of people (3!) I was trying out because I didn't want to be embarrassed and have people asking me to sing for them. The people I told all heard from me, "I know I'm not good enough to get through, but I'm not bad enough either." The only way I would be able to get in was to have a good personality. Now that it's in the past, I can totally talk about it. ;) So here is my Idol experience...

Registration opened on Wed. 7/27 at 7 am. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a morning person and would sleep until noon every day if I allowed myself to... I decided to go down there around 10 am to get my wristband and ticket. I went so early to ensure I would get a good spot and not have to sit around all day on Friday waiting for my turn. When I got there at 10:15, there was absolutely no line and I walked right up to the table and got the things I needed for audition day. Then I headed home.

Above is my wristband to get into the stadium. Below is my seat ticket.

I couldn't believe I was actually going to do this. Anyone who knows me has never heard me sing besides in a group (although I did do a duet ONCE in middle school). The reason for this is that I am absolutely terrified of letting people hear me. I think I'm a good singer and by keeping my voice to myself, nobody can tell me anything different. I am so afraid of people judging me and I don't think I would take the criticism well... MY OWN mother hasn't even heard me. That's how shy I am. However, put me in a group in front of 8,000 people at the Key Arena and I am totally fine!

So I'm guessing by now you are wondering why in the world I decided to try out. There were two reasons:

1. To check it off my bucket list and say I did it. I wanted the American Idol experience.
2. To face and overcome my fear of singing by myself.

Fast forward to Friday morning. I didn't get much sleep the night before because I was nervous. I got up at 5:45 am and got ready. I left the house at 7:10 am and arrived at Invesco Field by 7:45 am. I was SO thankful there was no traffic! I was worried about hitting that 8 am traffic but it was non-existent so that was a plus! I got in line and just waited. A few minutes after 8, they started letting people in. To be honest, there was less (WAAAY LESS) people there than what I was expecting. I saw an old co-worker who now works at the stadium and chatted for a few minutes before I went to my seat. She told me there were only 5,000 people there, and about half were "support" people. They were expecting 15,000 people to show up.

Above is a blurry photojournalistic shot I took while walking to my seat. ;)

When I got to my seat, we filmed the crowd scenes where we wave, clap, shout random things ("I'm the next American Idol" and "American Idol is the original"), and sang the group song which was River Deep, Mountain High by Tina Turner. Filming was done by about 8:30, then we just had to sit and wait until it was our turn. So I started chatting with the people sitting around me to pass the time. Did I mention I HAD NO IDEA WHAT SONG I WAS GOING TO SING?!? The one most important decision I had to make and I didn't have a clue!

The stadium was pretty empty. It was crazy!

It was hot (like mid 80's by 8:30) and everyone was sweaty and miserable. So people started heading into the concourse to get out of the sun and get some snacks. I finally went in there around 10 am and to my surprise, a group had formed a large circle and people were taking turns singing for each other! I thought it was pretty cool. :) At one point, I actually FORGOT I was at an audition and was just having fun watching people sing! It also could have been the fact that my brain cells were dying from the heat and I mentally checked out. ;)

Here's that large circle I just told you about. 

By 11:30 am, it was time for my section to go line up to march into battle. By then, I had decided to stay true to myself and sing a Sweet Adelines song that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE called "If You Loved Me." (Plus I felt like the words sort of fit) We retired this song after International Competition last year and I was so sad to see it leave our repertoire. So we lined up in rows of 4 and waited on the field to be told which table to go to. We were sent to table 11. I was still not nervous, which is pretty good for me! I kept telling myself, "Just think of this as a Sweet Adelines performance where everyone else forgot to show up." ;)

This is what the audition tables looked like from my seat.

We went to table 11 and there was one man sitting there (one of the producers). I ended up in the position to go FIRST in my group. *GULP* I started getting shaky at that point. I stepped up and handed him "My Story" which was a bunch of questions about me then he told me to go ahead. OH BOY, I started to freeze up. I almost started singing 3 times in a 10 second time period before finally just going for it. 

I hadn't practiced AT ALL the entire day and I've never sang that song outside of my head voice, but I belted it out with my chest as good as I could. I stayed in pitch and had every single word right. I've NEVER heard myself sing the way I did at that audition table. It wasn't bad, it was weird. If I had to compare it to anything, I'd say I channeled my inner Orphan Annie. (HAHA) I actually had an out-of-body experience at one point during my song which was REALLY weird. I sang for about 35 seconds and got through 2 verses before I stopped myself at an appropriate place. The producer looked into my eyes THE ENTIRE TIME and while I was singing, the other 8 people standing around completely disappeared and I forgot they were even there. He said thank you and I stepped back. The second girl sang "Circle of Life" from the Lion King and I SWEAR she was tone deaf. ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. The producer actually asked her to stop singing! The third girl sang something I didn't know and she was ok (side note: she sat next to me in the stadium and was from Olympia, WA). The last girl sang something with a bunch of runs and the producer asked her to sing a second song with more melody. He called me and the second and third girl to the table and said, "Thank you so much for coming out. You guys were good but not what we're looking for" and were sent down the walk of shame. The fourth girl (Sarah) ended up making it through. I felt bad for the girl from WA for wasting her money and coming out and not getting picked. I would never go out of state to try out, I just got lucky that it came to my city and since I don't have a job right now, I figured it couldn't hurt to try. :)

So... Even though I didn't get a golden ticket and get to move on to the next round, I still feel like I won. What I mean by that is: I put myself in an EXTREMELY uncomfortable situation and forced myself to face my fear. I did just that and I am so proud of myself for it. :) Since I went in there not expecting to get a golden ticket, I wasn't disappointed with the outcome. AND actually, I think coming away from this experience has made me MORE confident in myself and my singing! So how's that for a twist!

Here's my fake sad face that I didn't make it.

Up next in fear conquering: auditioning next Tuesday for a solo in my Sweet Adelines western show this month! Wish me luck, I hope I get this one. :-)