Three year old Alison said she would be on American Idol when she grew up, and I'm still in disbelief she was right. The past year has been such a whirlwind... and I know it sounds cliché, but there's no other way to put it. 20 years of work on my craft is finally bringing my dreams to live and the amount of gratitude I feel is indescribable.
I want to tell you a little bit of the inside scoop on what it was like to film American Idol. In short, it was a life altering experience. To live inside of a childhood dream, not able to engage in the "outside world" for months, with a group of strangers who some turned into best friends, was remarkable in itself... not to mention everything that happened in the bubble. YOU'RE TELLING ME I GOT TO SING FOR KATY PERRY, LIONEL RICHIE, AND LUKE BRYAN ON ABC NETWORK AND THEY LOVED IT?!! WTF how is this real life!!
For the filmed audition, I was flown into Nashville for around 5 days of filming interviews, background content, social media content, rehearsals, and of course my performance for the judges. Day 0 was pretty relaxed, learning the ropes of what our week would look like and taking zoom meetings, but Day 1 the 6:30am call time, 7pm cut began. Every day I of course woke up at 3:30/4:00am to shower, do hair and makeup, warm up and all of that good stuff before call because God knows it takes me 8 million years to get moving in the AM. I honestly am someone who is usually running late because of being such a perfectionist so we HAD to make sure there was no room for error HAHAHA. Once on set, for some there was a ton of waiting around and rehearsal time, but I was thrown into filming immediately. First we did my entrance interviews: me talking about my background/upbringing, discussing any/all feelings surrounding my audition, etc. Next came A LOT of social media content time, and filming for commercials. Somewhere in the middle we filmed content bonding with other contestants and other life style content for the show. At dinner time there was always a zoom call with our schedule and info for the following day, and then I would IMMEDIATELY take my melatonin and hit the hay so I would get enough sleep to be prepared for whatever was to come. SO MANY OF MY IDOL FRIENDS would complain to me that they were running on an hour of sleep because they went to bed too late and I'm over here well rested going to sleep at 8pm like a grandma.
Day 2 was my audition day, so I woke up extra early to make sure I could get in a 30 minute vocal steam after my shower, with lots of extra gentle warm up time. Half of the day I filmed, then had a little break and JUMPED to go practice full out in the bathroom until production came looking for me to let me know it was go time. I was only the 5th person in Nashville to audition so I didn't have as much time to over rehearse and freak myself out as I thought I would, and I'm SO LUCKY. Once they called me to the holding area outside of the audition room, they immediately filmed waiting content, my interview with Ryan Seacrest, and all of that good stuff. Obviously when I had 30 seconds of free time I lied and said I had to pee but sprinted to the bathroom to practice one last time since we had to be absolutely SILENT for the 20 minutes before our auditions in the holding area. When it's finally your time to go in, IT'S GO TIME, no reacting to whoever went before you, just go in on your queue and do your thing. Shockingly I was not nervous at all through any of the waiting process, until I locked eyes with the judges. THANK GOD they were so nice and helped me feel comfortable. Before my performance, we chatted about my story, my struggles, song choice, and I even bonded with Lionel about having one sister and him being a dad of two daughters.
For my audition I chose to sing "I'll Never Love Again" by Lady Gaga, and they absolutely loved it. I will never ever ever forget the feeling of watching Katy's eyes well up with tears before starting a standing ovation that Lionel and Luke followed. They slow clapped and I feel like I was floating on air... such a surreal experience. Katy started with her comments and said that hearing me sing was like having sugar poured in her ears, that she wishes she could hear me sing every day, that I have a unique tone unlike anyone she's ever heard before, that I have style, looks, and an insane amount of talent in a little body - AND SHE SAID I HAVE THE SPARKLE. Not to mention we had matching finger nails and bonded over that too! Lionel Richie said yes a million times over and that I had such a powerful amount of soul backing my vocals and that he sees an incredible future as a performer/recording artist in my future. Luke told me that he thought I would SLAYYYYYYY in this competition. After everyone gave their comments and I thanked them extensively, Katy started us out with a yes, Lionel followed, and Luke finished us off with a "YES IN ALL CAPS" before they shouted the iconic "you're going to Hollywood" and I HYSTERICALLY CRIED. All of them were angels and invited me up for huge congratulatory hugs after finding out that I traveled to the audition alone. SO KIND!!!! After I went out for my follow up audition with Ryan, headed into a million more reaction tapings, interviews, filmed calling my family to share the news, and of course me showing my Idol friends MY GOLDEN TICKET!!
In the following days I caught up on any additional content they needed, and was soaking in time supporting my new friends before flying back to LA to prep for Hollywood Week. More to come soon on that:) LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!! So thankful for this life <3