The X Factor Australia – How My Audition Went Yesterday!
You can read the introduction here!
This was the second time I auditioned for a reality competition, the first being Australian Idol when I was 17. I snuck out of the house without my mother knowing, and I travelled all the way from Fairfield to Carriage Works in Redfern, where the auditions were being held. It was about 8.30am in the morning and the line was considerably longer than The X Factor‘s queue! I was waiting behind about 100 when Haydo and Fuzzy from Video Hits started strolling up and down the line interviewing people with a massive camera. Of course, I was really shy and covered my face most of the time!
Did I mention I was wearing a t-shirt with the slogan, “Spank the Monkey”? Things were bound to go downhill…
I finally got to the registration table after about four hours and wrote down my name and birthdate. That was basically all they asked for. After showing my ID, I lied about my mum being on stand-by to give consent if I made it past the first round! I almost hoped that I’d fail, just so I wouldn’t need to drag her up to the city.
After waiting for another two hours and watching Andrew G and Ricki-Lee prance around, I was finally sitting outside the audition room! I was really nervous and I didn’t feel any better when I walked in the door to meet Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark and a producer. They had a quick giggle at my inappropriate shirt and I slurred through Eric Hutchinson’s ‘Rock and Roll’. The clear answer was no and I did the walk of shame and quickly left the building, feeling really foolish. The feeling of embarrassment probably lasted for a whole week!
And as a surprise about a month later, I switched on the telly to find myself on Video Hits! I was on TV for about forty seconds, standing just behind the music show’s hosts in my saggy jeans and a metallic gold jacket covering my naughty t-shirt. I burst out in laughter. Maybe someone could find that footage?!
Looking back at the experience, I was really young, and definitely not ready for it. I don’t think I did well at all in my audition. And at the time, I thought I would never try out for a singing competition again!
Of course, that didn’t last because I had another go yesterday. Throughout the early process, I felt really positive about The X Factor Australia. Everyone in the queue were really bubbly and there was a great sense of camaraderie. We were in this together, and we all dreamt of the same outcome. A girl offered to share her mirror when I was fixing my hair, and a friendly fellow let me go in front of him because he was still filling out his application. Even the security and organisers were extremely friendly! It really didn’t hurt to feel welcomed. I think that’s something Australian Idol didn’t understand. Throughout the six or so hours I spent auditioning for Idol, I felt very belittled. The organisers who spoke to me were dismissive and insensitive. Like I didn’t matter. That it was all about the show, and not about the people.
The X Factor Australia was different. When we all huddled through to the big holding room after the two-minute registration, we were excited and thinking about all the wonderful opportunities this day could lead to. I had doubt in the back of my mind, but I was also very hopeful.
To be a part of show would no doubt be an amazing experience and I was really going for it! I was confident with my answers in the form and I felt that even though hundreds of hopefuls were auditioning, my individual story did matter. That as an auditionee, I’m very much part of this show as the people who actually get to the end.
The hoard of hopefuls start filling up the holding area (Click, then click again in new window to enlarge!)
In the holding room, you start getting distracted because everyone is rehearsing their songs! After thirty minutes, there’s an announcement that the first thirty contestants, based on the rego numbers on your wristbands, are to head to the audition rooms. The first group of us, myself included, head to the front to retrieve the application forms that we handed to the registration desk, and begin making our way out to a different section of the building. I was fourth to audition in my queue, as there were three judging rooms.
I had been rehearsing my chosen songs for the last few hours and I was ready to show what I had to offer! The form asked us to list four songs and mine were:
1. Hotel California – The Eagles
2. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
3. Angel – Amanda Perez
4. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
My list was quite diverse in genre because I wanted to show how versatile I could be. But when it got down to the audition, realistically, you do only have one chance to impress.
The line moves very quickly. You get told by the organisers that once someone exits an audition room, the next person should pop in straight away. You won’t be asked when to go in.
So after getting a ‘good luck’ from the guy who went in just before me, I grabbed all my stuff and headed in. Even though you’re told that the judging panel is made up of a producer and a vocal coach, my performance was judged solely by one producer and he didn’t seem like he even wanted to be there. Maybe 9.30 was too early for him. I handed my application form to the lovely organiser who I spoke to just outside the room. She could be the vocal coach that we were promised, but definitely had no say whatsoever in my audition.
I was asked to step onto the X sign on the ground, and it was then that I realised there was a video camera in the room! I told them that I was singing ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles and I took a long breath before letting it all out. I knew that how I acted on camera would be no less important than my singing ability, and it’s hard not to start feeling self-conscious and nervous. You can be in the best atmosphere in the waiting room, but once you step inside to an audition, everything changes and you really feel the nerves. People are judging you!
And I think you know yourself whether you’ve done a good job or not. Even in the first ten seconds.
Effort was something I could guarantee, but it wasn’t good enough to cut it. I was stopped three quarters through, and the producer asked me if I’ve had any vocal training. My reply was no, and he frankly said that my voice wasn’t ready for this competition and I definitely have things to improve on. I used my initiative to ask if I could sing another song, but the answer was also no.
So I thanked them for their time, and I headed out of the room. In following tradition, I said good luck to the person behind me and I really did hope that she did well!
I wondered why I woke up so early and travelled so far to be rejected in a matter of minutes. I walked out of the building and immediately gave Emma a call to tell her the news! We chatted for a bit, and she could tell how deflated I was. It was a real a downer to invest so much time and heart into a possibility that didn’t yield the result that you wanted.
You might think a lot of people try out for these talent shows because they’re simply looking for stardom, but I’m sure there are many who audition because they genuinely believe in their ability and are passionate about performance. Everyone has a dream, and everyone wants to be reassured that they’re good enough. I think that’s part of why I wanted to have a go this year.
I wasn’t surprised with the outcome that I received, but it is really disheartening to hear that you’re not good enough. I immediately think about all the people who make it through these shows because they’re a bit of a joke or that they’re simply attractive. Do those people go through the same audition process, or is there some other part of the competition that is reserved just for them?
This time around, i didn’t feel foolish or embarrassed. I was pretty damn proud for having a go, and all I felt really was disappointment. You start thinking about the things that you could have done differently, like a different song or a change in demeanour. If you’re serious about this sort of competition, then it does go down to your voice and how well you appear on camera. And I do trust in the producer’s judgement that I’m not ready for a talent quest like The X Factor. I don’t even think I’m a great singer, but it’s hard not to sit around and fantasise about making it big.
Having put so much into my application form, it was upsetting to know that no one will read it. It’s thrown in a pile with the rest of them and since I didn’t make it through, there really is no worth for it. I wish they’d just return it to me!
So despite feeling a bit down about this experience, I am glad that I took the chance. And I’m not going to stop singing because it’s a big part of who I am and I won’t be deterred to feel otherwise. At least having failed my audition, I won’t need to defer uni! I’m having a laugh now, thinking that I needed to take down some raunchy photos I have online. I can definitely feel safe about them now!
Even though I didn’t get very far (not even the first step!) in The X Factor Australia, it’s an experience that I will remember for a long time. It’s a real wake up call, and I advise that if you’re going to audition for the show, definitely be ready for it.
Thanks for reading,