Behind the Scenes at ‘The Voice’ Auditions
Bright lights, the red carpet, thousands of people cheering your name … Don’t lie — you know that at some point in your life, you’ve dreamed about how awesome it would be to live the life of a rock star.
But have you ever wondered what it takes to get there?
About a month ago, I was jamming out my Pitch Perfect soundtrack on my way home from work, when I thought to myself, “Man, it would be so fun to get to do this as a career …”
The more I thought about it, I realized that I should at least give it a shot. I love to sing, and really, what’s the worst that could happen? If I tried out for “The Voice” and didn’t get picked, I would simply come home, keep my awesome job here, and go to college in the fall as I had planned. When I got home, I got online and registered to audition for “The Voice” on Saturday, July 13 in the 2 p.m. group.
A few short weeks later, I made four-hour trip to Austin with my parents and my best friend.
(*Side note: If you’re ever driving through Bastrop and need an awesome place to eat, do yourself a favor and stop by Roadhouse. You won’t regret it.)
We ate breakfast Saturday morning and headed to the Austin Convention Center for what would be a very long day of waiting. I know most people probably think, “Oh, ‘The Voice!’ That would be so much fun! Are you going to meet Blake Shelton? Or Adam Levine?! That’s so exciting!”
For those of you who think that’s how my day went, you might be a little disappointed to know that that is definitely not a reality. Don’t get me wrong, I had lots of fun! But it’s not what most people believe it to be.
Here’s the scoop on the behind-the-scenes action:
1. Find a place to park. Let me just say that I would’ve had a really difficult time making that happen if my mom hadn’t been so kind as to drop us off by the door! Parking in that part of Austin is ridiculous. One girl I met there had to pay for seven hours of parking a few blocks away, and I am very glad that I didn’t have to do that!
2. Go inside and wait in the check-in line. This is where a sweet old lady made sure we all had our audition passes before we went to the next waiting area. This part of the process took only about 10 minutes, which had me thinking, “Wow, this is going to be quick and easy!”
I was so wrong about that last part.
That was literally the only part of the waiting process that didn’t seem to take 12,000 years to endure. Luckily, my dad and best friend were also auditioning, so I didn’t have to go through all of the waiting alone.
3. Go to the next waiting area and wait for about an hour just to have your bag checked. Just a word of advice to any of you other ladies out there who think you should cram your entire bedroom and bathroom into your small cross-body purse: I can tell you from personal experience that that is in no way a good idea. I somehow managed to finally get it all strategically placed in my purse, and was then asked by a security guard to empty all of it out onto the table, just so he could glance at it for three seconds and ask me to move along.
I apologize for possibly sounding like a total diva, but that guy made me realize how embarrassingly dumb it was for me to think I would seriously need that much stuff.
4. Wait in the next line to be checked in to the auditions list. This part took about 45 minutes, but things were starting to look up, as I made a few new friends in line. That is probably the coolest thing about the entire experience — getting to meet new people. I don’t care how shy you are; after standing in line with the same people for hours on end, you will make friends with the people around you. Guaranteed. It’s crazy how music can bring people together like that.
5. Find your seat in the first holding room. This is where the fun part begins. At first, we all just sat there, not really sure of what to do. They had the chairs divided into four large sections, facing each other on each side of the room, so we just found our seats and waited quietly.
It started to get a little boring just sitting there waiting, but thank God you can always count on that one random guy with his guitar and super-fun personality to stand up and break into a song everyone knows. After that guy broke the ice, the hours flew by as people had sing-offs across the room with other sections, made friends with everyone in their sections, and shared their songs and stories with anyone who listened.
Throughout this wait, some of the show’s crew members took people out row by row to an upstairs holding room. As each row left for the next room, everyone else clapped and cheered to encourage them. I absolutely loved how encouraging everyone was to each other! A few hours later, our row was called and we took the escalator to the next holding room.
6. Last stop before your big chance at stardom. This is where the nerves kick in. We were taken to a quiet holding room, and immediately, we knew what was coming next. As we waited quietly in this room for another half hour, we heard auditions being held in rooms down the hallway, which only added to our nervousness.
I should also mention that by this point, we hadn’t eaten much all day, so between the nerves and lack of food, our stomachs were going crazy! (*Note to self: bring more snacks next time.) Once again, we left the room one row at a time, and by the time it was finally our turn to go, I honestly wasn’t sure which one I wanted more: food or a chance at fame. But knowing that it was too late to back out, I ignored my rumbling stomach and followed the other contestants to the audition room.
7. Sing your heart out. Hate to burst your bubbles: I did not meet Blake Shelton. Or Adam Levine. Or Usher. Not even Carson Daly.
I met a producer named Jake, who would be our “judge” for the auditions. You know how the entire point of the show is to be judged only on your vocal talent, therefore the real judges don’t look at you while you sing? Well, apparently that part doesn’t start until a few rounds after the initial auditions.
When we went into the audition room, our group of 10 sat down in two rows of chairs positioned in front of our judge. He introduced himself, explained what he wanted us to do, then our auditions began. One by one, Jake called us to the middle of the room and we introduced ourselves, told him what song we chose to sing, then gave it our best shot.
I sang “Stars,” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. After everyone got his or her chance to sing, the judge stood and said, “Thank you all for coming to Austin to audition today. There’s a lot of talent in this room, but unfortunately, I’m just not going to put any of you through to the next round.”
Cue sighs of disappointment from several people around the room.
Then we were done, which was fine with me because I was on the verge of starvation.
There were ups and downs throughout the day, but overall, it was a really great experience … it’s just not as glamorous as many people believe it is. I think that says a lot about how much hard work and dedication it takes to make it in the music industry.
After seeing how the process works and how many other amazingly talented people are turned down in the first round of auditions, it really gave me a whole new level of respect for the people who dedicate themselves to music and work their way up to make a name for themselves. The entire process opens your eyes to the realization that it’s not all fun and games, and fame and fortune aren’t ever going to simply be handed to you.
I’ll admit that it was a little disappointing to not get the coveted “Red Card” and be able to say I am advancing to the next round of auditions. But honestly, I think the experience can only help me — in more areas than just music. If nothing else, the six hours of waiting definitely helped me work on my patience (and made me appreciate that delicious Whataburger after we left).
For anyone who might be thinking about auditioning for “The Voice,” I would definitely encourage you to go for it! No matter what answer the judges give you, the experience alone will be worth it.
Who knows? You could have “The Voice” they’re looking for.