True Confessions From a Chick Who Tried Out For 'The Voice'
Last night I forgot how to sleep.
Twenty-four hours prior, I was trying to doze off an allergic reaction triggered by cats that left my eyelids plumper than cherry tomatoes. I woke up Saturday morning unable to open my eyes and it hurt to look in a mirror. I called out of my weekend job and prayed that I could save face.
Thankfully, by 4 a.m. Sunday morning, I looked like myself again. But now there was another problem: nervous insomnia since today was the day I would audition for The Voice, the star-studded singing contest judged by music stars Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green.
When I was a chubby toddler, I toted around a portable karaoke machine when girls my age preferred Barbie dolls. My first stage encounter was at 1 or 2 years old. The story goes that I sneaked under the table at a formal dinner and when my parents tried to find me, there I was in all my gibberish glory trying to outshine the singer in front of the room. And the rest, as they say, was her-story.
Though I’m no powerhouse diva, I have no shame breaking out a couple notes. I was a solid alto in my high school’s chorus group and even R&B-mixed John Lennon’s “Imagine” in my first ever solo stint.
It took two less than stellar performances of DJ Sammy’s “Heaven” during a singing contest and an acoustic version of Mario’s “Crying Out For Me” (struggle soprano notes and all) to make me quit the game, though they never stopped me from having private concerts in the shower or at Starbucks when I was a barista. Random strangers asking if I could sing from just hearing my speaking voice has been more than enough for me to keep the embers of a scorched passion from completely dying out.The Voicewould help reignite that…
I joined the long line of hopefuls 30 minutes before my scheduled 2 p.m. slot. In front of me stood a Latina wearing sparkly grey Armani jeans, who looked more model than singer. To my back was a simple chick in black shorts and a green shirt who perked my ears with a soulful version of Jazmine Sullivan’s “Lions, Tigers and Bears” under her breath. When I checked in the venue, one of the staff members eyed my name and shot me a glance. “Your name’s Adelle? Don’t tell me you’re gonna sing…” I cut him off, “Nah, too predictable.”
We were all placed into random rows of 10. I was wedged between two basketball fans: one, an older fella who hailed from Boston (naturally rooting for the Celtics), and a New York-bred Puerto Rican with an R&B twang to his voice that shared my love for the Knicks. Within 20 minutes, we were ushered up the stairs to a small room that would ultimately hold the fate of our Sundays…or if lucky enough, our lives. The four walls weren’t soundproof, unable to block the fact that people were hosting church at the Izod. Though we could hear several ladies belting it out, not one from the group before us carried the red slip. We were a positive-thinking bunch, wishing each other good luck and hoping the next 30 seconds would get us a round two.
My name was pulled out of the pile first. “Hi Adelle, what are you gonna sing for us today?,” asked the sunshine-stale producer (she noted several times that they had to keep the auditions moving given the thousands they had to see, not counting those from yesterday’s casting). After bouncing back and forth between Beyoncé’s “Halo” and The Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly,” I opted for the former (go big or go home, right?). She said, “Whenever you’re ready…”
Stand by for part two tomorrow, June 5.