The process of “The Voice” auditions first starts on the computer. You go to “The Voice” website and click for auditions. Once you’ve filled out your artist registration, you can either decided to audition at a specific location at a specific time or you can send in a video audition. Picking either depends on your preference. If you get terrible stage fright, like myself, I’d probably send in a video, however that’s not what I did…whoops! Live and learn. Just follow the instructions on the website for whichever option you choose. If you go to a specific audition place, the audition must be a cappella for the first round. Accompaniment is only necessary if you’re doing a video or get a callback at your first audition.
For my auditions, I picked the closest auditions I could find and that was Oklahoma City, OK, which was still six hours away. Luckily for me, it was on the one free weekend I had available throughout the whole summer. If there are no audition spots close to where you live, but you would still like to audition I recommend picking a place you’ve always wanted to go and make a mini-vacation out of it like me and my uber supportive parents did…or you can send in a video audition instead. Make sure to sign up for auditions as early as possible because they run out of time slots fast. I got stuck with the 7 A.M. time slot and for those of you that sing, you probably already know how hard it is to sing first thing in the morning. The one positive thing about having an earlier audition time is that the judges aren’t judged out. Meaning, if you have a later time slot you’re risking the judges having heard a hundred people before you. A few of those 100 people may have sounded almost exactly like you. Put into perspective, if you hear hundreds of auditions in a day I’m sure most voices probably start to sound the same after a while.
Five thirty in the morning was when I woke up for my audition, a.k.a. not a good time for Emily to wake up. I maybe got five hours of sleep. I knew I’d be waking up early so I made sure to pick out my outfit, take a shower and blow dry my hair the night before so I wouldn’t have to wake up any earlier than that. To get ready the next morning all I had to do was put on some make-up, bobby pin my hair back, and of course drink COFFEE! Men, this is one of those instances I envy your morning routine.
I picked out a hotel as close to the Chesapeake Energy Arena as I could so I could get as much sleep as possible the night before. There was only a two block walk to get to auditions, thank goodness! I left the hotel at 6:15 A.M. with my coffee in hand and Dad in tow and got there approximately a half hour early. The line was already wrapped around the building at 6:30 in the morning. Not intimidating at all, right? The line started moving around 6:40 A.M. and around 7:40 A.M. was when we reached the inside of the building and my Dad had to leave me. 😦 No friends or family allowed, unless you’re under 18, then one guardian is allowed in. Once you get inside the building the same line continues until security checks your artist pass and I.D./Verification. After that you get your bags checked. No aerosol sprays, lighters, guns, mace, etc. allowed in the building. Pretty much, if you can’t bring it on an airplane, you can’t bring it to auditions…except for food and water. That’s acceptable!
Once you’re past security you get shuffled into another line at the bottom of the arena. Then you get divided up into one of seven lines and wait in line again. At the end of the line there’s a table of two people and you give one of them your artist pass and I.D. to verify again and then they send you to another table in the middle of all the tables to get your artist pass scanned, to ensure you actually auditioned. The helpers of the event then usher you to the stadium seats to wait until it’s your turn to audition. This is the perfect time to head to the bathrooms, multiple times if you need to! If you’re like me I have to go pee constantly and sweat when I’m nervous. I know, I know, super attractive. Another thing you can do with this time is practice your songs in your head and get to know the people next to you. I made friends with Jessica, the girl I had been standing in line with since the beginning, who I learned had also auditioned for “American Idol”. There was another girl I had been in line with too, who was kind enough to offer me food, but I lost her at the security check. Rats! Anytime someone offers me free food, there officially my best friend for the day. I hope she made it, but I will probably never know until the show starts up again.
The helpers have you get up by row. They start at the beginning and work their way back and proceed to the next row. This process probably took an hour for them to get to our row. Then you wait in a line at the bottom of the arena. They’ll ask you to raise your hand if you’re auditioning and let the first 10 go to the next line and continue until every group goes. Your group of ten will be lead into a hallway with your fellow ‘ on both sides. You wait until you’re ten people are up and then you’re 10 people are led into an empty hallway and you wait for the ten that are currently in the room to finish up with their auditions. Yet another chance, to play the song in your head, but you are NOT allowed to go to the bathroom anymore. Unfortunately, I heard the current auditions through the door and it made me nervous. I was constantly telling myself to have fun and to take a deep breath.
Once the auditions before us were done we were led into a room with two sets of five chairs making a V in the middle with the judges table facing the people who were auditioning and a few chairs in the back for the guardians of those under 18 years of age. Reminder: No video allowed! The judge had to tell a mother to delete the video she had just taken of her daughter during her official audition. When it comes to the audition the judge explained that you are allowed one verse and one chorus of a song and to please state the song you were singing before you started and stand on the tape in the middle of the room when she called your name. I sang “Lovely” by Sara Haze. My audition did not go well as my nerves got the best of me. The song that I had been practicing nonstop for the past week and had been singing near perfectly was a completely new song that came out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure the judge could see the frustration on my face. What a mess! I felt bad for making the judge listen to that disaster. Jessica, the person I had been in line next to the whole time was on point the whole time, but didn’t get a callback. 😦 A couple of people in my group might get a callback. Which means they will have to come back and audition with music.
The whole wait time from getting there to the end of my auditions was from 6:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M. So approximately four hours. Make sure you come prepared to wait. High heals not recommended!
- Talk to the people around you. The person that was standing behind me in line was with me the whole time. It was nice to have a familiar face, even if I had only met her three hours ago, with me at auditions. Everyone is nervous and in the same boat as you.
- There’s no need to go two hours early or show up at an earlier audition time. They will make you wait until that time slot has gone so there is no point in coming much earlier.
- Don’t sing a song everyone will be singing. I don’t know how many Alicia Keys “Fallin” auditions I heard, but I know it was too many.
- Don’t force a genre. Sing in your genre or do a rendition of a popular song and twist it to fit your genre, but only if it’s good. Have someone whose musically inclined, whose not your family or best friend, listen and give you feedback before you audition.
- Louder does not mean better. There’s beauty in subtlety.
- Put yourself in the judges shoes. Don’t blame the judge for not letting you through and just because you didn’t make it through does not mean you should quit singing or your terrible. I didn’t make it, but I will still continue to sing in church and enjoy the musical I’m currently in because I love to sing!
- Remember to tell yourself to have fun, you’re a rockstar, and take a deep breath (I wrote all of those things on my hand for auditions). It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make it. I heard there is a 1 in 100 chance of making it on the show.
To sum up the whole experience.
Wait in line. Go inside, line continues. Security. Go into one of 7 lines for artist pass and I.D. verification at table. Go to another table for pass scan. Get shuffled into seats. Wait until your row is called. Wait in line at the bottom of stairs. Go into hallway in groups of ten. Move up ten, then wait again. Then get moved to another hallway with your final group of ten. Wait. Door’s to your final destination open and your group of ten auditions in front of a judge. Sing your verse and chorus. Done.