In the summer of 2009, I auditioned for Season 9 of American Idol in Denver (the season Lee DeWyze won). I had just finished my first semester of college in Idaho and decided to make it a fun road trip, going with two friends from high school in California for support. As a young small town girl, with very little traveling experience at the time (especially being kind of on my own essentially), seeing the "big city" was exciting and new.
Auditions took place at the Mile High stadium, where the Broncos play. It was miserably hot and we forgot to bring our umbrella. Thankfully there were a couple of nice people willing to share the shade though. I can't remember how long I was there, but with over 7,000 people there waiting to audition, it was an all-day event. While waiting to audition, I got to see Ryan Seacrest! He stood in front of the bleachers and got us all hyped up. And then the camera crew did some crowd shots. We had to point to ourselves and shout "I'm the next American Idol," and we also sang a Carrie Underwood song together. It was really cool.
Many people don't realize that there are two initial rounds with the producers before you even see the real judges that are on the show. You only have 10-15 seconds to sing and make a good impression. People sometimes get through because they wear crazy outfits or have a huge personality. A lot of talent slips through the cracks. The producers tended to give out more golden tickets towards the beginning of auditions.
So it was finally my turn. Four people go up in a row at a little booth. I sang "At Last" by Etta James. You're cut off whenever the 3 people judging you decide they're done listening. They told my whole row, "you're not what we're looking for right now." And that was it. I felt good about my audition, but you just gotta stand out. Really cool experience though!
^ Hey look, it's Ryan Seacrest!
In 2014, I had the neat opportunity of auditioning at the "American Idol Experience" attraction in the Hollywood Studios park of Disney World, to perform in a show that day. It was to compete for the "Dream Ticket" (basically the ultimate "fast pass") to audition for the actual television show (the winner gets to be at the front of the line).
I auditioned with "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston and made it into the show….however, they had already cast their last slot, but they still wanted me to compete, so they gave my family and I complimentary tickets into the park to be in the show the next day! They do 4 shows each day and then a finale that evening. And I won my show and got runner-up in the finale! :)
For the show I sang "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera (from Disney's Mulan). A little risky, but I made it my own, and thankfully the judges and audience liked it. Each of the contestants got to work with a vocal coach, and have their hair and makeup done and everything. It gave me a feel of what it could be like if I were actually on the real show. The judges even had extensive musical backgrounds. The contestants were told that one of the judges was paid to make snarky comments (he was like the "Simon Cowell" of the three), and we were told to just ignore his negative comments toward our performance.
Also, I had a little video interview that they showed, which was fun. My husband and daughter were in it, and the host had the audience give a round of applause for stay-at-home moms, and then again for my husband for being in the military...which I thought was really nice. And it was so sweet, after the show I had a couple kids ask for my autograph and to have a picture with me.
I auditioned for American Idol again (the real show), August of 2017. I found out auditions were being held in Provo, UT and I happened to be in the area at the time visiting family. So I had to give it a shot. I stood in line in the harsh sun for 4 hours. I sang "Hurt" by Christina Aguilera for like 10 seconds. It was a no. Bummer. I never expect to make it though, because you're competing against a lot of talent.