The following is an account (with a bovine twist) of LindiMoo's experiences from arrival to exit as she auditioned for Simon Cowell's television show, the X-Factor on 4-20-2011. Auditions were held at the Key Arena in Seattle. If you are a singer / vocalist or musician and are entertaining the thought of auditioning for this or any other reality music show competition like The Voice, American Idol, America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent, or Australian Idol, this blog may be helpful. The first portion deals with what happened when LindiMoo was waiting in line to get into the audition. Be prepared to yell and scream and be silly for the cameras swooping all around you. If you are curious about LindiMoo's voice, feel free to visit her Album Page and Video Page.
LINDIMOO'S X-FACTOR AUDITION
WOW..what an adventure THAT was. There is truly no other phrase to describe this event than "cattle call"...how appropriate that I (LindiMoo) should be there. Let me tell you...nothing prepared me for what happened yesterday at the X Factor auditions. What a sea of people...screaming...dancing...and pretty much doing whatever the directors of the show asked them to do. Here's how it unfolded for Diana, Lorrie and I (Lorrie is our mutual friend and music supporter...she is amazing!). I wondered if they had this much hullabaloo at the auditions for The Voice or American Idol.
Since Diana won the "Front Of The Line Pass" contest from Seattle's Q13 Fox television station, she got to go to the head of the line and Lorrie and I tagged along with her as her guests and we arrived at the Key Arena in Seattle at a leisurely 6:00 a.m. instead of the 3:00 a.m. it would have taken to get a decent place in line. Holy cow!...the herd of people was already huge!. The staff started to show us where the end of the line was but Diana showed them her pass and we were moooved away from the rest of the stock. There was a large measure of satisfaction to be escorted past the massive amount of people corralled in line.
It was fun to watch them watch us and wonder who we were and why we were going to the front. Diana shouted and hooted and hollered at them like she was a rock star and they hooted and hollered right back at her, not having a clue who she was. That must be how stampedes start...one cow decides to run and the rest just blindly follow along.
At the front of the line we are directed to go even further and away from the crowds to a small line that is forming adjacent to the arena. It doesn't seem right but the bald-headed staff guy insists that where we need to be waiting is in the line for people with disabilities..true freakin' story!! We become part of the free range cattle...we are free to roam around the grounds while the rest of the herd are corralled tightly together and awaiting their fate.
THE SHOOTING OF THE HERD
Then...the filming started. The 20 or so Pepsi girls, all decked out in blue and red wigs and t-shirts and tight fitting blue leggings ran past our group and out to the corral of people and waved their pom poms and danced to loud pulsating music. An announcer gave the crowd instructions to cheer and dance and bounce in unison with the music while cameras on cranes and in a helicopter overhead shot at the massive herd. Although we were feeling pretty special about being set apart from the rest, we couldn't help but feel a twinge of being left out. I wanted to be in that crowd just so I could hold up my LindiMoo sign with the other signs that were being held up while cameras panned the crowd.
The shooting of the herd lasted a freaking hour...time after time, the announcer gave a command followed by cheers from the crowd or dancing...the cameras would swoop down and pan across the sea of faces. The helicopter circled and circled and circled. The Pepsi girls were called back 3 times to do retakes on their entrance. I remember watching the crowd shots from previous episodes of American Idol and wondering what it was like to be in that massive crowd...now I know that it takes a LOT of filming and retakes to get just a couple of seconds of final product.
Somewhere in this timeframe, the local television crew from Fox showed up to interview Diana. Kaci, the woman who selected her as the winner, was bubbly and fun. Diana had already gotten our group of about 40 people to cheer like the rest of the herd because we were feeling left out. Diana did an interview and sang "Amazing Grace".
This is Diana and Kaci from the Q13 Fox television station. Kaci is the
one who selected Diana as the winner of the "Front of the Line" contest.
THE FRONT OF THE LINE
So did I mention that we were there at 6 a.m. in the morning in Seattle? Well what I didn't mention was that it was freaking COLD. By the time 8:00 rolled around my toes were frozen solid. Just when it got totally unbearable...they opened the chute and the 40 of us made our way down to the front of the line. We waited in the chute for another 15 minutes until..finally...Woo hoo...the gate opened and we entered the arena.
Here we've moved down the "chute" to the arena.
THE FIRST LOOK AT THE AUDITION ARENA
The Key Arena hosts a number of events including basketball and bullriding, so it's huge. We said goodbye to our new friends with injuries and disabilities and the contest winners and their families all went to section 103. Down on the floor of the arena there were curtained cubicles numbered 1 to 24. What the heck? Certainly we were not going to audition in those cubicles, were we? I mean...look...they are made out of CURTAINS for crying out loud. Wouldn't you be able to hear the person next to you auditioning too?
Audition area before the rest of the herd arrived.
We had a whole half hour to wonder about how this audition was gonna go down...the 40 of us had the whole arena to ourselves for 30 minutes...until the stampede started. All the chutes opened up and the contestants and their families came pouring through the doors, all finding their seats. Soda and water hawkers went up and down yelling their wares, and the snack bars opened their doors...we might as well have been at a finals rodeo event.
THE START OF THE AUDITIONS
Finally...after another half hour of everyone finding their seats, the announcer started the auditions by directing our attention to the huge video display screens high above the center of the arena. Simon Cowell's big mug showed up on the screen and he apologized for not being able to attend but that those who got "yes" today would meet him in May. What the hell? I don't know why I was stupid enough to think Mr. Cowell would be at this event, but, I'm not gonna lie...I thought he would be. In hindsight it seems absolutely silly to think that he would bother with the cattle call part of this competition. This was the moment I realized that this was NOT gonna be what I thought it was gonna be. I am embarassed by my naievete. .
Section 103 soon filled up with other people we hadn't met...other special contestants from other cities who had earned the right to go first. All around me people were singing at the top of their lungs...practicing like their lives depended on it...so full of passion. I didn't hear one crappy voice. I heard many many exCEPtional voices...I was surrounded by a sea of talent.
THE MUSIC MILKING STALLS
So here's how the audition went down. There were 5 rows of us and so starting with the front row we walked down the long set of steps to the arena floor and down to those 24 mysterious curtains. All eyes in the arena were on us...it is a weird feeling to have thousands of eyes staring at you. In groups of 4 we were herded towards the cubicles. One by one we disappeared into the maze of curtained stalls.
The X Factor audition area or as I like to call it the "Music Milking Stalls"
THE AUDITION OF LINDIMOO
A nice young man pointed me to my stall, I think it was number 12 because I was right in the middle of everything. I was told to stand on an X in front of a middle aged woman. I got the feeling we were all getting ready to be milked of our music. She was sitting on a stool and pleasantly asked me what I was going to sing. I told her "Angel From Montgomery by Bonnie Raitt". As I was putting down my backpack (we were told to take ALL our belongings as we would not be returning to our seats) and my coat she noticed my scarf and said "Nice scarf...I have one just like it". Then she looked at me and again asked, "What are you going to sing?" Weird. I told her again...this time more slowly.
I felt uncomfortable because the other auditions had started all around me...it was a little nerve wracking, but I just belted out the song, all the while laughing inwardly because the singing all around me got louder and louder. At one point the whole arena started cheering so I knew she couldn't hear or "understand the words that were coming out of my mouth." When the cheering first started, I know I looked around and gave a bewildered look as I was singing, but she just sat politely and smiled at me until I finished. Then, in a very nice, pleasant interview-type voice she thanked me for taking the time to come today but that it was gonna have to be a "no". I wasn't shocked...this was too freakin' werid. So I was just as polite as she was and gathered my things and asked where I went next.
Are you curious about what an X-Factor "failure" sounds like? LOL...check out my video page to find out.
THE WALK OF SHAME
The arena was still loud with contestants singing and the audience letting out bursts of cheers. I backed out of my stall and into the corridor where the nice young man was waiting for me...with scissors. This is the part that got to me...this is when I first realized I was not Grade A beef. The nice young man said "I need to cut off your wrist band". For some reason, this hurt more than her polite "no". Although it wasn't attached to my ear like the tags on cattle...this little red piece of paper around my wrist was what made me special and identified me with my harmonious herd. When he cut off the wrist band it was like telling me I had mad cow disease and that my musical milk was tainted. I wondered if they cut the tags off the cattle before they send them away to slaughter.
Earlier, while sitting up in the stands I noticed that there were signs over two of the exit doors in the arena. The one on the left read "NO"...the one on the right read "YES". We had been given instructions at the beginning that if it was a No, we were to go to the furthest arena door to the left and if we got a yes we were to take our golden ticket and go through the door on the right. So, it was not a mystery to me when they cut me towards the left hand door. When I got out of the stalled area and into the open arena the weight of that "no" was further drilled in...I felt ashamed...lol...a little embarassed to be walking towards the "no" door. Funny thing is, that just as I hit the door, the crowd cheered again and I thought how polite it was for them to be so kind to me. LOL...I realized shortly afterwards that they were cheering for the people who were going through the "yes" door...DUH! God, I can be so dingy sometimes.
And I don't know if they designed it this way on purpose, but once I got through the door it really had a "walk of shame" feel to it. I moved through the long cavernous concrete loading areas of the arena. The "guards" at the end of the walkway didn't look my way and said nothing. Their sole purpose was to make sure that us rejects didn't go back and infect the rest of the herd.
As I was walking I wondered where this would lead. For some reason I thought there was more. Nope. The door lead outside to a loading dock area. That was it...cut from the herd with no way to get back in to see how my sister had fared or to hook back up with my friend Lorrie. Thank god for cell phones.
As I was wandering around the outside of the Key Arena and trying to hook back up with my travel companions, I wondered if they do the mass first auditions for, say, America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent, or Australian Idol like this. If you've been to the auditions for, American Idol, The Voice, or any of those other shows, please tell me if it's like this or not...I'm curious.
THE "AFTER-THE-WALK-OF-SHAME" MUSINGS
So I got to thinking...wow...someone actually designed how this would look for those who got "no's". They made sure that the contestants felt like total losers if they didn't make the grade. I was kind of laughing as I thought of this because the "no" doesn't affect me much...I still have two CDs that people still buy...I still have gigs lined up...I still have lots of cool friends, family and fans, and I know I can sing quite well and that the people who like my music really like my music. But for those people just starting out who think that these judges will tell them if they have talent or not...well I think it is a shame. I saw people with incredible talent come out of that "no" chute and they left thinking they couldn't sing. One girl I talked to said she was just gonna quit singing. What a freakin' shame.
These judges were given a specific criteria and whatever it was, I did not fit it...I do not have the X Factor they are looking for, and X is a variable that we don't know. Possibly I should have learned a hip hop song with lots of vocal gymnastics, or maybe I should have sung a more current song by Jason Mraz (wink)...or maybe I should have worn more bling...but that's not who I am so I'm good with it. I just wonder how the really really bad singers who look goofy and really really THINK they can sing get in front of Simon. Well that just might be one of the X Factors they are looking for so they can humiliate and ridicule them on national TV and increase their ratings. And, that goofy looking guy or girl will get a golden ticket and proudly walk through that "yes" door thinking they are Grade A Beef when in fact the "YES" was painted over the real door sign that read "Slaughterhouse".
So what was originally under the "NO" sign? I'm thinking it was "Free Range". I'm free to pursue the music that is truly me. I'm not bummed...the only thing that bugged me was that I felt that I let my friends and family and fans down a little by not at least getting through the first round. But that wasn't a vocal audition...that was Simon Cowell looking for something to put his brand on...it was a cattle call and I guess I just wasn't destined to have a great big X burned in my hide. Is that good? Is that bad? We will never know because I'm a free range cow now...just call me LindiMoo.
Thanks for your good wishes and your support, and thanks for taking this journey with me. It was seriously worth every moment...you can't BUY this kind of fun!
Oh, and thank YOU Simon COW-ell for giving me an unending supply of fodder for my bovine analogies.