Curious what happens when you audition for The Voice? This ballsy 51 yr old shares her inside scoop!
LIFE LESSONS from THE VOICE Auditions
The balls of my feet felt like they were on fire after mostly standing in line for almost 6 hours waiting for my turn to sing at The Voice Auditions in New York City. My spouse, Christine, and I arrived at the site an hour before the scheduled time in my pass. I did not realize that thousands more had the same time stamped in their passes. And the line wrapped around a massive structure like Jacob Javits Convention Center, extending as far as 6 more blocks past the center. The hotdog vendor outside made serious business. I tried not to drink water for fear that I'd need to go to the bathroom, which was nowhere in sight.
Winter was kind. It wasn't horribly cold outside. At first, the line moved so slowly. More people arrived. Mostly young, so diverse in looks. I was surprised not to see any asians. I seemed to be the oldest. Christine and I stood next in line to a young, talented lady who has performed at Carnegie Hall several times. She kept doing her vocal exercises. The line started to move faster and then, only the people auditioning were allowed the area where the auditions were being held. Parents of minors were allowed in. IDs and bags were checked and we were led to a big room where we were scanned in and given wristbands. It was very organized. Then we all sat and waited in a huge room. Some people were singing together, just having fun. Other people stood by their chairs and started singing their hearts out. Those who had the same audition pieces were trying to openly outsing each other. There were people who already have recording contracts. Most people were nervous. I quietly watched everyone. I sat next to a 38 year old guy who couldn't stop talking about all his accomplishments...that he already has 3 CDs, and has performed in front of thousands, and said he is just auditioning because people he knows think he should, and it's another way to pass the day. To my left was a pretty 22 year old who keep telling me she needs to brush her hair. I assured her that her hair looked fine and that it will not affect her voice. I came to the audition with a clear intention. I would like to be THE VOICE of Hope, Faith, Courage and Inspiration despite Adversity.
Visits to the restrooms were organized well too. The restrooms seemed the only place where the was peace and quiet. A red sign that reads "NO SINGING IN THE BATHROOM PLEASE" was taped by the door. In that big room, the staff gave instructions without a PA system. It was hard to hear what they were saying. At one point they announced that Maroon 5 was having at show at Madison Square Garden and they recorded the whole group wishing them a great show! Then, in groups of 10, we were lead to a long hallway where we stood and waited. People were animated and were talking to one another, some were doing vocal exercises non stop. I only shared my message with people who expressed interest in listening to my story. I was just so grateful to be alive and singing at an audition after a devastating illness that left me with permanent lung damage, breathless, debilitated, and almost dead 5 years ago. Most of the time while waiting, I found myself just watching people try to draw attention to themselves. Some people did not even smile back when I smiled at them. I barely heard people wish each other good luck. Those who I said "good luck" to, did not wish me back the same. It's almost like they wanted to keep the luck all to themselves. The only ones I truly made a connection to were Emily, the sweetest 15 year old I've ever met, and her mom, Rinnie. Emily was always smiling...vocalizing...she sounded amazing. Her mom was not like a usual stage mother. She quietly showed support. At first I thought she was also auditioning. I said to myself, "Nice! someone my age". When she got to know me and my story, she said with so much pride "Good for you!" She looked like she meant it. By another group of 10, we reached the audition rooms. We can hear, but not see, people audition. Everyone sounded terrific! Wow!!! I only saw one, after waiting so long, walk out with a red piece of paper (which means you get a call back). A staff member collected our passes and signed press release forms. 10 of us got to audition together in a small room. No cameras inside. A man welcomed us, and gave instructions. No interview. He just said you say your name and your song, and sing a verse or two, then he raised his hand to motion us to stop. He barely looked up. He was writing lots of notes. Almost everyone in my group sounded absolutely mind blowing fantastic! Like Christina Aguilera and Melissa Etheridge on steroids. The 15 year old girl was terrific. She sang flawlessly. Perfect tone and control. I felt so bad for the guy who sounded amazing but forgot the second verse to his song. He slumped in his seat after, very disappointed at himself. I sang fourth. I sang "This is the Moment". I was not nervous. Gave my best shot, the guy looked up a couple of times and smiled at me.
After listening to the rest of my group, he said " You are all great. You should congratulate yourselves for coming here. The bar has been raised on The Voice, and I am sorry, I am not letting anyone through. Thank you." No one cried like in American Idol...I was fine. I actually found comfort knowing that much younger people with powerhouse voices compared to mine, did not go through either. We saw 3 people of the thousands that auditioned walked out with a red paper by 6:30pm. I felt truly grateful, not resentful, of the experience. Christine saw me right away. I told her I did not make it. She looked more disappointed for me. She knew I wanted to get through to share my movement. I introduced her to my new friends. This lovely 15 year old took the rejection so gracefully, too. No tears. I said to her, you're 15, I'm 51. Same dream, same outcome, same positive attitude! We took a picture looking like we've won! Yes, we did. We just gained a very enriching experience and met each other. I gave them my card. They came back to where Christine and I stood, and introduced us to the rest of the family. We promised to stay in touch and not to forget each other as our brilliant destiny awaits elsewhere. The "NO" we got means "Next Opportunity." My prayer before auditioning was for God to take the wheel and guide me where I need to be. God's answer was clear..."I have something better in mind for you"
It was a really lovely experience. Will I do it again? No. It was enough that I found my answer.I am very happy that I never have to live the rest of my life with regrets, filled with thoughts of "I wonder what if..."
I truly believe my finest day is yet to come. A reality show is not what God planned for me. I am always grateful, never resentful.
So, my dear friends, you won't see me at The Voice on TV. You may see me at my own Ferlilicious show one day :)
"If you take a chance, you have 50% chance of winning. If you don't, your failure is 100% guaranteed." ~Ferlie Almonte, Certified Life Coach, Motivational Entertainer