EVER WONDER WHAT IT'S LIKE TO AUDITION FOR AMERICAN IDOL?
It was everything we expected it to be and nothing at all like we thought. It’s been on my daughter’s bucket list for years and the day had finally come on September 21 – American Idol Chicago Auditions.
We drove downtown well before sunrise and made our way to the Wintrust Arena. As we approached the line of people already waiting for their chance of a lifetime, we felt the positive energy radiating from across the street.
It was very dark outside; it was very early; yet, people were singing in harmony to a guitar that was perfectly tuned. They appeared to be lifelong friends, yet were strangers from across the Midwest that were sharing in the excitement of the incredible opportunity that awaited each of them inside. We befriended a mom, daughter and grandma from Elgin. She had tried out in Springfield just weeks earlier and was not ready to give up on her dream. We became fast friends sharing in the common dream.
Eventually, the crowd was herded into the arena in groups of 25 to a line of tables with tons of forms and friendly faces. We had pre-registered online, so we didn’t have anything to do but go sit in the stands.
Once in the arena, in front of us sat a row tables adorned with the official American Idol signage and sectioned off by black curtains. They announced that only the person auditioning would be allowed on the gym floor, and only when your section was called.
ABC7 Chicago was on the scene and we got our half of second of fame on the morning news! My phone started blowing up with messages from people who caught a glimpse of us on TV. They were sending well wishes across the cell signals including the Publisher of Glancer Magazine who loved the surprise of seeing #MomsLittleBlackBook on the adventure of a lifetime– LIVE ON TV!
Tessa’s section was called, and she was herded into another line of eager singers where she was assigned to a group of 4 while awaiting to approach the judge’s tables. There were about 6 stations each hosting 8 people– 4 in the front row and 4 in the back. The first 4 sang, individually, then the judges provided feedback and almost all were sent on their way. We weren’t seeing anyone get through.
It was Tessa’s turn. I pulled out my phone and got as close as they would allow me and started taking pics of her moment in time. Behind my camera, I saw the judges fully engaging her and then all of a sudden, they all turned and waved to me. My heart was racing! No one else was waving. Was this a good sign?
The 4 sang. The judges sent 3 on their way. Tessa remained.
Our Elgin friend who was standing behind Tessa was giving me the thumbs up.
Could it be!?!
The judges loved her, her voice, and her story.
But …..thought she needed more practice performing so encouraged her to try again.
We hugged our Elgin friend goodbye with promises to reunite again.
And in the end, the only regrets we have, are the chances we didn’t take.