Now that it's past and the only thing I won was the opportunity to give it a try, I can talk about auditioning for "America's Got Talent."
It was such an overwhelming experience that I'm not sure what happened. It was surreal to say the least. Here's what I think happened...
I arrived in NYC on Saturday night before the Sunday audition. Wendy and I drove down right after a show I did in Albany, NY. My friend Lee who lived in the city, offered to let us stay at his house and he would take us to the location, so we wouldn't have to worry about it. "Great!"
On Sunday, we found our way to a huge convention center and we were two and a half hours early. Outside of the place, there was hardly a person, no matter their appearance, who wasn't there to audition. We walked past a woman in an electric wheel chair who was waiting at a bus stop. She said, "Are you here to audition?" "Yes I am." "I auditioned earlier…"
A guitarist competing against a singer in a wheel chair? I was ready to turn back right there.
Once we walked into the place, we entered another world.
Tons of people, colors and costumes everywhere. It had a circus feel to it. People singing out loudly in the halls as if to increase their chances of being discovered by someone dressed in a power suit.
Dancers, people sword fighting and animals. An Elephant? Lee was loving every moment of this. Since there was a little time to kill, we decided to split up and look around. I've known Lee for years, never short for ideas - when he saw the elephant, he thought I should make an entrance riding into my scheduled slot sitting on it. He went to offer some money to the owner for the deed. No such luck.
I came upon a guy juggling three miniature poodles. One of the poodles "Amber," bee-lined toward me and started chomping at my leg. Those sharp little teeth hurt. I should point out that I'm a big fan of Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, but the owner was too busy trying to charm a bikini-wearing unicyclist, so I was left to be eaten. Contrary to Cesar's advice, I tried to kick the crap out of the dog.
Amber ran off. Suddenly we heard a scream. People all darted around the corner…
Apparently the little poodle had startled the elephant. The elephant took a back step and stomped on poor Amber. It was a sad sight, but let's be honest, that little beast deserved it. (Ok, I made up the story about Amber and the Elephant, but in that environment, it could have easily been true.)
In another sector, I was being harassed by a ventriloquist and his dummy who, because I was dressed in a suit and tie, insisted that I was politically conservative. "[In a dummy voice] You don't look like a rockstar to me. I bet you're a conservative zealot." "I suppose you're a democrat?" "[In a dummy voice] Well, I am a dummy."
The time was getting close. I was called into the greenroom, along with several other acts, including the dummy. There was a guy on keys and a young lady playing a song. Since I had my guitar out, I started lightly playing along with them. They never looked at me or acknowledged me in anyway. This annoyed Lee more than it bothered me.
The thing that struck me were the dancers. A gang of body beautiful ladies, they just stormed in the room and started taking their clothes off. There you are trying to be a gentleman and a lady walks near you and throws her leg straight up past her head. Lee and I didn't know what to do. Were we to be gentleman and try to look elsewhere? We tried, but hell, you don't see this everyday. We stared.
Finally I was called into the audition room. There were no judges, just a young lady with a little digital camera. She seemed totally unresponsive and bored. "Stand on that blue line. You got ninety seconds. Let me know when you're ready." It was over. Next was the dummy.
I think this is what happened...?