By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
It was mid-afternoon before my group was shuffled into a staged "Fluff 'n' Puff" primping room and ominously supervised by CMT cameras.
We were a motley bunch. Two thin, pretty brunette dance instructors with sweet country accents. A tall, gorgeous blonde sure to make it in on her remarkable boobs alone and a miniature version, Lacey, who had all the boobs and none of the height. And me. The conversation was gripping.
"Ohmygod, I'm sonervous!"
"Ohmygod, I'm so nervous!"
"Do you think we'll have enough time to stretch? What if we can't stretch before we go on? I need to stretch. Ohmygod, I'm so nervous!"
A half-hour later, I found myself gripping a make-up chair, then striding onto the parquet floor in a line with my group. I mentally willed the DJ to play any of his random songs except Aretha Franklin's "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves," the selection I'd decided would be most painful to dance to. Luckily, a hip-hop beat rang out through the speakers, and I found myself grinding wildly to 90 seconds of a rap song. Paying little attention to the song's actual beat, I threw my arms out to the left, then the right. I whipped my neck around like an amateur stripper, hair flying in every direction. Barely balancing on one leg, I spun in circles, stumbling onto two feet when I became dizzy. When I ran out of what I thought were actual dance moves, I just shook my ass in circles and started over at the beginning. As abruptly as it began, the song stopped, and I froze in mid-pirouette.
When we returned to our seats to watch the rest of the audition, I slipped out to the bathroom. It was packed with girls on cell phones giving audition play-by-plays to their mothers and boyfriends. The redhead in black-and-white horizontally striped shorts who'd been dropped off by her parents that morning was systematically asking everyone coming in through the door whether we saw her "do the same thing over and over again" once the music started. I told her I hadn't noticed.
It was after 6 p.m. before my section's results were revealed on a giant chalkboard, with my No. 433 nowhere to be found. I told myself I was staying around to hear the joyous squeals of those who made it to the semifinals. Not because I actually wanted to get there myself. No, I wanted to be able to relate to my readers exactly what a life's dream being realized sounds like. For the record, it's roughly a cross between a cat in heat and a starved 18-month-old.
Not that I'm bitter.