Monday, February 9, 2015

What It's Like to Audition for The Voice

  I did a little dream chasing recently . . .
Singing has been my happy place as long as I can remember.  I’ve been performing on stage since I was 3 years old. I love to sing and dance! Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a mom and a rock star {not exactly a cohesive career combination!}. I got the mom thing down but the rest became less and less likely as I grew older and more socially anxious.
I don’t generally watch vocal competitions on television. Every time I do, I‘m thinking things like, “Why did they put her through and not so-and-so?!” or “That guy can sing! I hope he makes it!” but of course he never does. I like the concept of The Voice though: no visual first impressions to suffer through, no one even looking; kind of perfect for an introvert! So when I saw an ad for auditions, I finally decided to answer the “what-ifs” in my head and went to California for the open auditions of The Voice.
My husband {aka: The Stud} stayed home with the boys and my mom and I hit the road!  We went the night before since I was going to the 7 am session. On Saturday morning I was wide awake at 4:20 am. I {tried to} read a book on my phone for a while since our hotel was only a couple blocks away. We arrived at the LA Convention Center just before at 7 am. The line was already about 5 blocks long! It went across the entire front of the building and around the side and into the parking garage. There were hundreds of people! We lucked into a parking space and made our way to the end of the line.
While we waited, we did some serious people watching! Not a dull moment with so many hopeful, energetic people! Some sang at the top of their lungs, others inched along making friends, some people cut in and out of line videoing themselves and parading around like they were already famous.  We saw a dad in the parking lot, next to his RV stretched out on a lawn chair reading a book in the sunshine while his daughter stood in line. =) A nice girl named Natalie introduced herself to us and started to talk when a tall foreign guy cut in-between us. That’s about when Staff roped off the lines to prevent further line-hopping. Around 8:30, they had to start telling people who were there for the 2:00 auditions to leave and come back later. The Staff was very friendly! 
After a couple hours, we neared the front door. The doorman there was so nice! We chatted with him for a while He had given directions to the bathroom 743 times so far. We finally got inside the building at 9:30. We stood in line for another hour. I was extremely nervous so I couldn’t eat but I would definitely suggest bringing snacks and drinks for the wait.  Once we got closer to a large staircase, family members were asked to leave the line and wait elsewhere. I was having a great time with my mom but rules are rules. The best part of that though: the staff member at the stairs told me to have my mom come with me! I told him that she was asked to get out of line. He said that minors (you have to be 15+ to audition) must be accompanied by a parent. HA! I’m WAY past being a minor but that totally made me day!
I headed up the stairs with my fellow hopefuls and into a huge room. There were several small lines leading to tables with smiling people taking our audition papers. The back section of the room was filled with rows of chairs (I figured about 600 chairs). They were packed!
I was directed to a seat at the very end of a row near the entrance. At 10:38, I FINALLY got to sit down! WOO-HOO! We waited while rows and sections were called every 30 minutes or so. While we waited some people read, some ate and visited with new friends and a lot were singing.
As each new group called to go to the next area upstairs everyone cheered them on. I read and visited with a super nice guy named Mark. He could see that I was nervous and suggested I meditate to relax. It did help to remind myself to breathe! He also told me to remind myself that this whole thing is based on “someone’s” opinion: just because your talent doesn’t appeal to them doesn’t mean you aren’t talented.
My row was finally called to line up at 12:18 pm. We were asked to stay close to each other as we walked so we didn’t get lost. Went up another flight of stairs to a mezzanine that overlooked a food court area. We could hear people cheering and clapping intermittently. I peeked over the rail and saw that it was our families waiting down below. Every time someone came down the stairs with a red card, they all cheered. Apparently, that’s what you’re handed if you get a call-back. I was so nervous that I started to hope I wouldn’t get a red card because that would mean I’d be doing this process all over again! I didn’t think my nerves could take it!
We sat in the mezzanine again ‘til 12:39.  Then we were called by rows to line up again. We headed down a large hallway where we were split into groups of 10. Each group was then sent down smaller hallways to stand in front of audition rooms. We were told by a very peppy Brianna that we’d wait there for about 20-30 minutes. She said that cell phones must be turned off before we went in. She also told us that, once inside, we were not allowed to approach “the producer’s” table for ANY reason.  We could hear the people already in the audition room belting their hearts out. I was so nervous I was nauseous! I got my courage up and decided to pass the time by chatting with the people in my group.
There was Shane, who really wanted to sing with his guitar but that isn’t allowed until call-backs.; Nate who's 17 was with his mom Denise; Trino, who looked enviably comfortable in his sweats and hoodie; DeShontay who’s hair was rockin’; Alyssa who seemed more nervous than I was but had an awesome smile; Mindy, who seemed very young hid behind her hair; Ashley whom I had sat in front of in The Huge Room and heard her singing with her friends, Deija who was there with her dad and had already tried out for American Idol, X-Factor and America’s Got Talent; and Tim who is a Disney parade performer. 
We waited there until 1:00 when the audition room door opened and 2 people came out with red cards in their hands. We could hear our families cheering for them as we headed into the room. All 10 of us went in together and the 2 parents were invited in to sit in some chairs at the back of the room. 10 chairs were set up in the middle of the room in a V-shape with 5 on each side. The Producer sat at table at the front of the room with a laptop.
He told us we would be singing one song each. He asked us to clap for each other before and after each song and not to talk during performances. He also reminded us to have our cell phones off and that we could not (for any reason) approach his table. He had our audition papers on his table so he mixed them up and called us up randomly to sing our song. Each person in my group was so talented! I was especially impressed with Mindy’s performance; I could have listened to her all day! 
We dutifully cheered for each other and waited patiently while The Producer typed things on his laptop between performances. I let out an audible nervous yelp when he called my name, which made people laugh and put me at ease. He said, “Alright T.J., and what will you be singing for us today?” I replied, “I’m going to be taking it WAY back to the 50’s with ‘Am I In Love’ by Jane Russell.” “Well okay!”, he said, “Let’s hear it!”  It was kind of surreal to think about what I was experiencing but I tried to focus and just having fun doing what I love. I sang 2 verses when he held up his hand, signaling me to stop. He said, “Wow! Thank you, T.J.” and typed some stuff on his laptop as I returned to me seat. After we had each sung, The Producer typed a few more things, asked Tim – the Disney dancer – to stay behind, and the rest of us were excused. They cut off our wrist bands and we headed back down the hallway.
 It was a huge relief to be finished but it was a long walk down the stairs, knowing that people were waiting to cheer for you and wouldn’t have a reason to do so. I immediately found my mom, chatting with a girl from my hometown who was there for her husband to audition. He’s tried out for several talent shows, too, and had auditioned for the Voice several times. He got a call-back for America’s Got Talent so watch for John Stevenson when it comes on!
I hugged my mom, gathered my stuff and headed out the way we had come. I called The Stud at 1:40 to tell him that I didn’t get a “Golden Ticket” but that I still had fun. We climbed in my car and got back on the road to Arizona. I was home by 8:30 that night.

My sweet boys had a surprise waiting for me at home: flowers, and my very own “Golden Ticket”.
I don’t usually sing in front of them so they talked me into an impromptu encore performance of my audition song, followed by a group hug. So even though I didn’t get a call-back, I felt like it was a successful experience because I did something that was really hard for me and got a “Wow!” from The Producer. Not bad for a middle-aged mom. =)

I secretly videoed TJ singing her song from The Voice audition to her boys when we got back late that night . (HEE, HEE! ) Standing in the kitchen, exhausted but Beautiful! I could tell by their faces they were as proud of their mom as I was!

Posted by Pam Scorse on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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  1. TJ!!! I am so proud of you!!! That took such amazing courage!!! You are my hero! I could never in a million years dream of doing that (as much as I have talked about it - I am far too scared!) Way to go!!!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm just glad I'm still alive. ;)

  2. I am so proud of you! You are an amazing lady! I love you!

  3. You are very gifted with such a beautiful voice. The Voice just wasn't ready for talent like yours yet you're ahead of your time

    1. Oh my goodness! You're so sweet to say that! Thank you for making my day.💗