The audition itself consisted of each applicant singing a cappella only the first verse and chorus of the song they had chosen. One judge sat in each room and called the participants up, one by one, to sing on an X in the center of the room.
There are a thousand excuses I could use to explain my poor performance—my trickling energy, my nerves, my fright of forgetting the words of my song, my lack of practicing in public—but there is no excuse. There is only my performance and the fact that I, along with eight of the ten other applicants, did not make the cut to the second audition. I lost my breath, and fear of how poorly I was doing only debilitated me further. By the time I reached the end of the song, I felt like I was having an asthma attack.
But it wasn’t even getting cut that got to me.
What got me the most was the tolerant expression on the judge’s face as he waited for me to finish my song.
Not pleased. Not encouraging. Tolerant.
Arrogance aside, my singing has produced a lot of results in its heyday. Tolerance has never been one.
Out of our group of ten, only one girl (a young woman who had apparently made the Top 25 in Season 2) was asked to stay and sing another song.
Lack of sleep, a lingering illness, and overall offense at the patient look of the judge made me irritable and borderline hysterical as I left the building and drove home. By the time I steered onto the highway, I was ready to buy a self-pity smorgasbord of Burger King goodies. I also vowed that I would never put myself through such a hellish process again.
“I’ve lost the ability to entertain!” I wailed, swerving a police cruiser as I rode the overpass railing at about 120 mph. “I’m worth nothing now; I might as well just disintegrate into a mass of nothingness!” (I exaggerate, of course. I was only going 105.)
However, by the time I reached home and found myself with only the appetite to nibble my BK meal’s onion rings, I realized that to vow never to go back would be a defeat of the worst kind. Even if I never audition for any televised competition again, that should not kill my desire and love for performance art.
It has been years—alright, over a decade—since I have performed in front of a crowd. Compare this with the fact that I was in national choirs, won district competitions in musical solos, and brought established choral directors to their knees with the glory of my song while I was in high school, and it’s no wonder the variance in levels was so high.
Perhaps I’m in an old, ratty robe as I state this. Perhaps I’m rocking back and forth, chewing my gums and whittling a canary out of Balsa wood.
But that is beyond the point, dagnabbit.
Many of us have that one thing we did in our youth that has evaded us due to a new job, a family, other growing interests, or just gradual neglect. As age overtakes up, we think of the past and begin our sentences with, “In my day…”
Do you remember what it was that took you away from your old love? No? Well, wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim that day?
If you don’t want to reclaim that day, seek a new one! My next endeavor stands at the base of sixteen-foot high aerial silk. Am I afraid of heights? I can’t remember, and I’m gonna keep it that way until I’ve taken one or two classes to get myself started.
I concur with my Taekwondo instructor. If there is something you’re afraid to do because it lies outside your comfort zone, do it.
Go on, do it!