This was probably the worst idea she had ever had. Initially, she thought it would be a good opportunity to get exposure. She knew she had a good voice, but maybe she just wasn’t cut out for this kind of thing.
She had been standing in a long line since seven o’clock that morning, her mom by her side and a piece of paper with a number printed on it on her chest. It was starting to get really hot, and feelings of self-doubt and anxiousness were starting to take over.
“This could be it. The big break you’ve been waiting for,” her mom whispered in her ear.
She looked around. People were dressed in outlandish outfits, playing guitars, and dancing around. “I don’t know, Mom, they’re saying that there’s over 5,000 people here,” she said, worried. Everyone wanted their fifteen minutes of fame. A lot of them had probably worked and sacrificed to get there. Why should she be the lucky one to get picked for a slot on the show?
Everyone was being filtered into a large stadium. Cameras were everywhere, but all she wanted to do was crawl in a ball and hide. What the heck was she doing here? This wasn’t her. Security guards were directing the crowds onto the field and making performers line up in rows of five.
She looked back at her mom. “You’re going to do great. I’m proud of you no matter what. I’ll be waiting right here,” her mom said, reassuringly.
She looked around as she walked up to her line. There were individual tents with three judges sitting at a table underneath each tent. Performers would walk up in groups of five, standing next to each other, and each would sing an excerpt of a song. Many of the performers that were being picked to move on to the next round had extravagant outfits or were physically attractive, but she didn’t hear anything substantial coming from their mouths. This isn’t real, she thought. This isn’t music.
She was next in line to sing. She watched the judge’s faces as the group of performers each sang. They were all clearly bored, looking, but not really listening. The performers finished and left. She walked up to face the judges along with four other singers.
She looked around. Each one of the girls standing there with her looked terrified. She felt nervous, but she couldn’t help but feel slightly annoyed. The judges were too busy jotting down notes on paper, so much so that they didn’t even notice when it came time for her to sing. Screw this, she thought. They’re going to pay attention to me. She picked the one part of the song she prepared where she knew she would belt the melody. She had a deep, powerful voice. She was damn good at belting. The other singers around her looked up when she let the sound escape from her lips. She let herself feel every note in that moment, forgetting what happened before and what might come after. She knew her voice carried, so her mom had to hear what everyone else was hearing. What the judges were trying to ignore.
One of the judges held up her hand, cutting her off halfway through the second line of the verse she was singing. “That’s enough. Thank you.” The woman adjusted her glasses, a fake smile thinly spread across her face. “Unfortunately, you aren’t what we’re looking for. Better luck next time.”
Her insides felt empty, as she walked out of the stadium. She was physically and emotionally exhausted. She felt as though she had taken everything inside and laid it on the table for those judges, completely exposing who she was. And for what?
“That girl was ridiculously good. I don’t know why they didn’t pick her to move onto the next round,” a girl said directly to her right that was pointing at her.
She smiled back at the girl, but when she saw her mom, the smile disappeared. She struggled to hold back tears as she mom hugged her, but she had never felt so insignificant. Her talent, her years of training and experience had meant absolutely nothing here. She felt as though everything she knew about music didn’t matter. She had wasted a day waiting to perform for people who didn’t care if she succeeded or if she had real talent. She would be less willing (if at all) in the future to put herself in a position where her talents weren’t truly appreciated and where her time was of little value.
“I could hear you all the way across the stadium,” her mom said as they walked to the car. “You sounded amazing. I’m proud of you.”