|Nicky's American Idol Journey|
|The actual journey to try to be the 2005 American Idol began long before the physical journey. Several months ago, it started with the small thought, maybe I will audition, and grew to a passion difficult to understand which has helped me to work on myself inside and out, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. If you are reading this, you are probably among the people who have expressed that you believe in me and my talent or know someone who does, so enjoy as I take you with me through some of the journey!
Last Year Auditions
Many people reading this know that I auditioned last year as well. If you already know what happened, I give you permission to skip this section. If not, read on. I did not make it past the first round. However, I took several positive things out of that experience. I was auditioned by a wonderful producer who was kind enough to share with everyone why they did not make it. She let me know that she thought I had a great voice and should definitely be singing for a living. She also said that I needed more control over my upper range and should try again next year. So I followed her every word.
Preparations for this Year
As someone with allergies, sinusitis, stomach problems and possibly developing asthma, I can say that keeping healthy for the auditions was one of my biggest challenges. I do not know if it was my one month on a no dairy diet or my high water intake or lots of prayer, but I stayed healthy!
I also prepped myself mentally and emotionally by getting as much information as possible and communicating daily with people who share my dreams. This helped me to develop a sense of confidence and calmness.
The DC Experience
On August 16th, one of my closest friends (I will call him MD) and I left the Bronx, heading to DC with high hopes that possibly, I could be on my way to becoming the next American Idol, or at least on our way to have a darn good time trying. One out of two is not that bad, right?
Our bus from NY passed the convention center at approximately 4:00pm, 14 hours before the line was supposed to officially begin forming. Several people were already in line, so I called MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #1 and MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #2 to let them know that I would try to get in line as early as possible and hold spots for them. (Note: All friends from the message board will be given a number according to their order of appearance in the story). MD and I joined the line, and I have got to insert here: The AI and Convention Center staff were completely efficient, and extremely hospitable! Within half an hour, we had the opportunity to set up camp at what we would call home for the next few days.
Once inside, immediately I started to meet extremely talented people, voice majors were a common breed. Everyone in my section was friendly and modest, and I loved that! MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #1 came that night and I was thrilled to meet her! We got along as perfectly as I thought we would. Later that night, MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #2 and her boyfriend arrived. I will never forget the image of her jumping on sleeping bodies in excitement as she made her way over to us. The laughs she caused then were just a foreshadowing of things to come!
I was thrilled to be sitting there with one extremely good, old friend (MD), two good new friends and several others who would potentially become my friends. When it was time to sleep, the high level of anxiety and excitement in my mind and body kept me up. Eventually, after hours of trying, I fell asleep at about 5:00AM, but that was not before my accidental trip to the mens room (but that is a whole other story) and my Terrence Gaines siting. He was one of my favorite competitors featured in the season 3 auditions. He was in the last group cut in Hollywood, making him eligible for this year.
That morning at 7:30, I awoke to the sounds of inconsiderate voices singing as if they were putting on their own concerts. 2 and a half hours of sleep! Despite the lack of sleep, I had a fantastic day! We were permitted to leave the convention center, so I took several walks around the area, got to hear several people sing, extremely good and extremely bad. Let me just say some great audition footage should be coming out of DC.
I was extremely excited about taking the opportunity to sing for a local DC radio station. I was also excited about the fact that MD and I got to talk to Terrence Gaines for about 20 minutes! How often do you get to hang out with someone who you are a fan of! He sang a few songs for us and I sang for him! I was happy to see his really big smile appear on his face when I sang. I was quite a bubbling ball of excitement after this ordeal ended. Unfortunately, I was too much of a punk to get or give any contact information. If anyone reading this knows him, please encourage him to contact me. (Sorry, I had to add my shameless plug!) Another highlight of this day was how MESSAGE BOARD FRIENDS # 1 and #2 and I got to meet MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #3. We had all posted and received many messages to and from him in the past, but none of us were able to get in touch with him before the auditions to make plans. MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #2 was asking everyone in our section for autographs in case they were the next American Idol, and Lo and Behold, one of the very adorable guys right next to us introduced himself as someone we know and love! MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #3
A camera man noticed us soon after we met him. I do not know if he spotted their style, or our happiness, but he came over to us to ask if he could take some group pictures! We all felt like stars! That night, I do not know if it was my exhaustion, the titanic CD I was listening to or the fact that I was pretending I was alone by pinning my blanket over my head, but I slept like a baby!
Can you say S-T-R-E-S-S!? We were woken up at 3:30 so that we could get ready and be back in the building by 5:00 so that we would not loose our place in line! Miraculously, we did it! Thanks to MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND # 2, MD and I had a place to get ready! I love you girl! After we got back, there was waiting and more waiting. Then, they announced that DC would be the opening scene for season 4! So they lined up the first few hundred people (which I happened to be in) and sent us downstairs to film us cheering! Ryan Seacrest came and walked between the two crowds, and we were all so thrilled that we cheered for real. However, it was not good enough and we had to do several takes! Who knew cheering was such hard work! Once we got back inside, we waited for what was probably less than an hour, and then the line started to move. I had never seen a line move that fast in my life! Before I knew it, I was standing only a few feet before the producer!
The Audition Room
I am still in awe about everything that took place in the audition room. One after the other, I saw people being turned down. I do not know if it was a mistake to be near the front of the line. I feel like they did not want to take too many people that early on. I watched dozens of people audition before me, and only two of them advanced, one was gyrating like a mad man! I was very impressed with many of the Whitney-like girls I was hearing, and shocked that none of them were advancing! Everyone was going up to the producer in groups of 4 and rejected as one.
My group included my very cute male Puerto Rican friend, MD, a half black, half Dominican and all good looking guy, MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #3, a regular looking white male, and of course, me. When we went up to the producer before our audition, he said something like this to us, (Let me say first of all that I am sorry in advance. We are sending home 99% of the people who have shown up for these auditions. About 10,000 people came out for the DC auditions and we can not take many people. I admit that it is possible for me to make mistakes, but I have auditioned about 5,000 people before in the other cities, and I have a very good idea of what I am looking for. So, I just wanted to apologize in advance.) I have got to admit, things are not looking too good at this point.
MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #3 went up. He had lost his voice earlier, but once he started to sing, you would not have guessed. He sounded very good! The second guy went up, and he was just ok, then it was my turn. I tried to be my cutesy self, and I succeeded in that. I did not feel that nervous and I think I looked very confident! The vocals were pretty good, not the best they have been on this song (Midnight Train to Georgia is the one I finally decided on), but definitely pretty good. Then my friend MD sang and he sounded adorable. He used to sing quite a bit a couple years ago, and though he hardly sings anymore, I love the smooth sound he makes when he sings. When we all finished, the judge shook his head and said, (Yeh, I am sorry.) I made one last attempt to hold on to my wristband by telling him that I saw a flyer that the wristband would get us a discount at the DC concert Season 3 finalists are doing in a couple of days. I continued to be my cute little self, but it was to no avail! Good bye wristband! Goodbye American Idol!
No one I knew advanced to the next round, and MESSAGE BOARD FRIENDS #1, #2 and #3 along with other people I met were extremely talented. MESSAGE BOARD FRIEND #3 was interviewed by Extra, and told them the story of how we pretty much got rejected before we sang, and got to sing for the camera! You go boy! He sounded great!
So, yes I was hurt. I like to play tough girl, and I did not cry after the audition, but I have to admit to you that hours later I did cry! When I began to think about the fact that I spend so much time doing other things, going to school and working, and so little time following my dreams, I got really sad. But then, I realized with the help of MD, I may not be able to control American Idol producers and what they want, but I can control the main thing that made me upset. Singing is my dream! I love to do it more than anything! I CAN make it a priority in my life! Why cry about the fact that I am not making it a priority when I can change that!
I left the audition room feeling like I failed, but now, I realize that in my own little way, I won my very big battle. I realized that music is a big enough deal to me for me to make the gamble, and put my all into it. This has been something I have been struggling with for several years, and I finally have made up my mind to take the plunge.
I felt bad about having to disappoint you guys, but so happy that you believe in me! To everyone who wished the best for me throughout this experience, I wanted to thank you! You have helped me to gain the confidence I need to do the things I need to do!
I am going to stay in school full time for one more semester. I will be busy with school and work, but I plan to try to use this time as much as I can as a transition period. I am going to start auditioning people to start a band as soon as I have figured out a game plan. I am going to start performing occasionally at open mics. After all, NYC is the perfect place for that. In January, I will not return to school full time (For all who are wondering, I already have a bachelor degree and I am studying for a second one in Civil Engineering) I will use the time I am now using for studies to pursue singing as a career! Wow, I got a tingly feeling inside just typing that!
Thank you American Idol! :-D
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