Everyday Adventures

My America’s Got Talent Audition

I pulled up to the gymnasium, wired on coffee and nerves. I looked at the clock: 9:30 AM. I’d officially been up for more than 24 hours.

I sighed and rested my forehead against the steering wheel. In just thirty minutes, this would all be over. In thirty minutes, I would continue on with my life as if I’d never accidentally agreed to audition for a national reality show I wasn’t prepared to audition for.

AGTSeason5

Hah— how’s THAT for a sentence I never thought I’d verbalize.

Only in my world would I have agreed to sub-in for a dance gig while unknowingly agreeing to represent a dance troupe at their America’s Got Talent callback. And only in my world would I have thirty minutes to meet my partner, learn aerials, and perform for the judges. You know, after a sleepless night and a quick choreography rehearsal the night before… At a nightclub.

Click here to read more about my accidental agreement.

Photo by Erik Kabik

Photo by Erik Kabik

If I was someone else, I would have laughed. After all, it was all SO ridiculous. But I was just nervous and shaking like a leaf, unsure if I would make it through the next half hour. I hadn’t danced in months or competed in years.

After I’d torn my both meniscuses in my knees from dancing with bad technique, I’d shied away from dancing all together. And when performing aerials, you have to fully trust your partner. Especially when you dance a dance that makes you do insane crap like this:

The worst part was I didn’t even know my partner. And he would have all of thirty minutes to catch me up to speed. No pressure. No worries.

Right.

I walked inside and upstairs to the rehearsal space. The other dance members smiled and stretched their bodies out. We started going over choreography that I’d been given the CliffsNotes to the night before.

I met my partner, a tall choreographer named Jonathan with a thick Italian accent. I would later learn he’d worked for all the great superstars, most recently J-Lo. He was very kind and a strong lead, which made me comfortable on the ground with him.

When we were warmed up, it was time to practice air. Jonathan kept asking me if I knew this trick or that one.

Of course I knew them. I’d even successfully landed a few… Three years ago. It wasn’t exactly like riding a bike. So I stared at him blankly.

We went through the motions, slowly doing handstands into pancakes and preps into an A-frame. I was feeling okay with these (given we just started partnering together ten minutes ago). Then he asked me about this backflip called the Knicker Bocker. I froze; I’d never successfully landed this aerial.

“You’ll be fine,” he encouraged, squeezing my hand. “All you have to do is think about flipping yourself and you’ll land just fine.”

Right—do it on my own… ‘Cause I was so graceful. I nodded and we prepped into the aerial.

In my attempt to flip back, I clocked him in the head with my knee.

“Oh my God— I’m so sorry!” He set me down and shook his head.

“It’s okay. No worries. You’re really long so just remember to tuck in.”

We worked on it a few more times. I landed but I wasn’t as fast as he wanted me to be. At this point, we only had about five minutes until the audition so I was just thrilled I wasn’t on the floor.

Jonathan squeezed my hand again. It’s only a minute and a half routine, I thought to myself.

The casting director and her assistants set up their audition area inside the studio. We waited outside, watching jugglers and hoop aerialists warm up. I wondered how much notice they were given for their audition.

We only had to wait a few minutes. Soon enough we were called in to perform.

The music started, and we were off.

AGT Audition 4

I don’t remember much about the performance except that I remembered the choreography. We did our solo performance and threw the Knicker Bocker. I landed it and we kept dancing.

Ninety seconds later, we were panting and leaning on each other in our line-up. The panel clapped and told us they’d review all their audition tapes that evening and get back to everyone at a later date.

We left in smiles, patting backs and exchanging hugs.

AGT Audition 3

My friend Andrew, who had walked me through my nerves the night before, was blowing up my phone. I called him as soon as I got in my car.

“Well?” He asked, “How did it go?”

“I landed everything! AND I didn’t screw it up!”

Andrew laughed. “See? I told you you’d be fine.”

“It’s hard to say if we’re what they’re looking for. After all, lindyhop can be so confusing for anyone who doesn’t dance it,” I thought out loud. “But again, I didn’t screw it up. So I’m considering this a win.”

“As you should.”

“And NEXT time, I will ask more questions before I agree to do something.”

He laughed again, repeating, “As you should.”

I was quiet for a moment, and then continued. “But you know, I suppose there is another lesson in this for me.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, I had all of what— an hour-and-a-half of prep for this experience? And I didn’t quite suck at it. So I guess this shows me that showing up is half the battle. BUT if given enough time and preparation in an area I REALLY feel I excel in, I MAY in fact be kind of a badass.”

He stifled a laugh. “Yeah, I’d agree with that, too.”

I thanked Andrew again for his support and got off the phone, putting my car in drive.

So now that I’d had this very unique practice opportunity, the question was… What did I want to really take a chance on?

5 Comments

  • Reply

    Troy S.

    April 3, 2014

    Wow. That is an amazing story and yes, I do believe showing up…with the right attitude…is a very large portion of the battle.

  • Reply

    Saini

    July 17, 2014

    I hope you still remember me, from Fiji….But I am curious to know how this audition went ? Were you given another chance to perform ?

    • Reply

      Hilary

      July 18, 2014

      Hi miss Saini! Of COURSE I remember you!! How are you?!? I was just thinking about you and the family the other day.

      The audition went well, but we did not make the final round in front of the judges. :)

  • Reply

    Rodney Gottier

    October 6, 2015

    I really enjoyed knowing that you were able to dance after a period of time that you gave up on. I thought to myself about the audition & if your body had been healthy enough to get past the bad moments or tricks you were doing as you danced within the time period you had. I am totally amazed at what you have done & how you succeeded when you made it through the audition besides. I am comparing what I did for an accident & how my body was & has become while God has totally made my body well from recovering from a compressed disc accident from a truck that went off a highway into a field with brush & barb wire fence. The brush at the end was the part that completely made my discs become compressed after down & leveling out & 65-70 mph & stopping a complete stop at the brush being 1″ apart from each other when hit those branches growing out of the ground at that rate of speed. I did the recovery without surgery & have been on & off with using a backpack filled & other things to help give me the strength in my body to come back from. Thanks for the post about your audition.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      December 19, 2015

      Hey Rodney!

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the post and you drew some inspiration from it. I’m so sorry to hear about your accident but am glad to hear that you are recovering and hopefully finding ways to rediscover your passions and life.

      Wishing you a very happy holiday season!

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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