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Seven Is Her Lucky Number. Was Booth No. 7 Her Lucky Break? One Hopeful Recounts ‘The X Factor’ Audition.

Seven Is Her Lucky Number. Was Booth No. 7 Her Lucky Break? One Hopeful Recounts ‘The X Factor’ Audition.

For those of us who have slugged through an audition round—film, music, TV—we are all too familiar with the roller-coaster ride. Yes, once, as a songwriter I auditioned for a new show on Bravo, called “Hitmakers” (now “Going Platinum”), and you guessed it, they were looking for the next big songwriter—Hitmaker. My assessment? The process was, well, an experience to say the least. For anyone interested in a one-off audition, or heck, maybe more than a one-off audition, to any of the “biggie” TV shows that makes the rounds once a year—um, like “American Idol”—here’s your chance to get an inside glimpse at the mass-level audition process.

One hopeful, Chaeya, recounts the journey of her “The X Factor” audition—did she make it? I, for one, could not stop reading, I had to know.

Chaeya  +  Booth No. 7  +  ‘The X Factor’ Audition

Chaeya’s Story:

So occasionally I get these little insane moments where I actually think I could audition for something which would be aired during prime-time television. This is exactly what happened when one of my friends urged me to try out for Simon Cowell’s “The X Factor” show, coming this Fall. At first my reaction was a sniff, then a smirk. Then later I thought, hmmm, maybe I might get picked? Of course, that little voice in the back of my mind was laughing at me, no gentle cautions, no “go get-‘em siss-boom-bah’s,” like I get whenever I feel an epic win coming my way. Just laughter.

Still, I wake up at 4:00 A.M. on the Saturday to go get my wristband at the LA Sports Arena. Even at 4:45 A.M. the line is ridiculously long. I would take a moment and urge people that if they want to do something like this, it is well worth it to get there as early as possible, and I’ll tell you why in a little bit.

Chaeya Wearing Her Signature Victorian Borderline Steampunk Threads

I got there early enough to where I had my wristband by 10:26 A.M. and I was back home—snug as a bug and in bed in Huntington Beach. There was no turning back at that point. I’d just spent approximately six dollars in gas money to go there and back, as well as spent four hours of my time waiting in a line feeling like a cow as we were sheparded along. Yep, gotta go through with it. So I wake up at 2:00 A.M. and I hit the road by 3:00 A.M. I was dressed in my signature Victorian borderline steampunk threads, complete with top-hat. That’s me, always has been.

When I got there, I got up front, which didn’t mean anything since I had my ticket as my placenumber, but still I wanted to get in early so I could sit. Looking at all the hopefuls I realized that I fit right in the middle of the “US Standard Picture of Normal” and “Nutty.”

News people from Fox to ET were scouring the lines interviewing people. They tell you to pump it up and act like a starving dog after his own pile of poop.

At the same time, they tell you to act like a star. Honestly, don’t most stars act like they don’t want to be bothered? And I didn’t want to deal with any stupid questions like, “Why are you here?” Not then anyway. Many people who have been in the business for any certain length of time simply want to come and when it’s time to audition, they turn it on like a light bulb.


That’s me. I’m a performer, an entertainer, I’ve had my share of hard times like pretty much every musician on this planet, so I don’t really want to go into the hell that is my life on camera or act like a goofball. It’s a $5 million contract—no explanation needed.

The bad thing about something as mega as “The X Factor” is standing in line. It’s the worst waiting you’ll ever do in your life. The good thing about this is you tend to meet some really nice people. I’m competitive, but not to the point where I can’t meet and wish some good-lucks to some other hopefuls. So for the experience alone, I say try this at least once in your life. Kick yourself later. (Note: Wear comfortable shoes and stop at 7/11 or somewhere for snacks—this place made a killing on their $5.00 coffee, churros, muffins, lemonade—everything was $5.00.) The lady next to me bought a coffee, a water, and a muffin, and she was out of $12.00.

So I got there at 3:45 A.M. and after much standing in line (in the light, misty rain), reading my paperback I brought, we were finally let into the arena at about 10:30 A.M. Inside the seating was comfortable and I had a pretty good seat, but I did wish I had gotten there around 2:00 or 3:00 A.M. in the morning the day to get my wristband.

"The X Factor" Audition

There were 24 stalls where a producer sat with an assistant. They called people by sections. And you could tell these producers knew exactly what they wanted because they moved the crowd pretty quick. Of course, you saw plenty of the nutjobs get passes to the next level, I mean just imagine the absolute whackiest, “nonsingingest” or “horriblesingingest” band of loonies this side of the Pacific. They make good television though, so I can’t fault them for that. And since Simon doesn’t have an age limit, they made sure to have a number of elderly people get their golden tickets, that’s so us people in our prime can’t bitch and complain later that we were left out. You can bet at least one will wind up on the show.

Five hours I sat through the mostly young and the middle-aged contestants. Almost every woman fired off bellowing ballads in the vein of Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, and Jennifer Hudson. There were a few voices I couldn’t hear at all, but they were pretty and they looked television-worthy so they got their gold slips. Then there were a few who wore sparkly dresses that got through. I heard quite a few opera singers and they were let through.


I had gotten quite a bit of attention out on the pavement. I got my photo taken quite a bit, was asked about being the next “X Factor” despite my hiding in my book. I get quite a bit of attention everywhere I go, but then there’s that little voice going, “Ain’t gonna happen.”

This is not being negative, my little voice has helped me quite a bit through the years, and it’s never steered me wrong. And I would have listened to it had I not invested so much time. If life has taught me one thing, it’s taught me that some of us, some people just don’t know what to do with them. That’s been my story pretty much my entire career in music. We love you, but we don’t know what to do with you.

However, I march onwards, and my section is finally called at about 5:20 P.M. I’m tired and I have a raging headache, but the show must go on. My make-up is good, I put a smile on my face. I wish everyone down the line I passed good luck, and I meant it. Now, here is where I tell you to come early. You’ll get seen early. By the time I went up, the golden slips that were being thrown about like confetti early on, began to dwindle. The producers, as far as I can see, haven’t even had a break albeit to go to the bathroom. But then, neither have we. So by all means, be that idiot you say you’ll never be like and show up at midnight.

I get up to Booth No. 7. What do you know, seven is my lucky number. I enter and there’s a middle-aged guy there with his assistant. He asks me my name and how old I am. I must have flinched because he said, “Don’t worry, there’s no age limit here.”

I get asked why I want to be on X Factor. I tell him the truth, I’ve been singing a long time, I’ve worked with a number of people in my life, but have felt like I’ve always been like a bridesmaid, but never a bride. I want to take it to the next level. He then asks me why I believe I should be the next X Factor. Because I’m unique, I’m bringing something different to the table, and I’ve worked hard to get where I am. Then I get the green-light to sing.

I ripped into my song “Unconditional.” I’m doing rock, my voice is in top shape, no note wrong, I’m focused despite all the noise going on around me. I’m also moving, singing directly to him, feeling the words I’m singing. He’s looking at me, checking me out, his eyes appear to be seeing down into my very soul, or maybe he was just dazed and was secretly napping with his eyes open.

Then there’s silence. He says, “Can you elaborate more on your pro status?” So he had been paying attention.

“Huh? Well, I’ve never been signed by a major label if that’s what you mean.”

“Well, who have you worked with?”

So I tell him, it’s somewhat impressive, but not a lot, compared to some of my friends.

He asks me to sing another song, and so I decide to kind of do what all the other chicks are doing and go more on a ballad. I sing “Tell It Like It Is” by Heart and again, I was on top of my game.

When I finished he says, “Thanks very much for coming in, but I’m gonna have to pass.”

I meant it when I said I was a professional, not even when I saw a guy in a yellow and blue superman-looking suit getting ready to go in. I don’t know whether he got a slip or didn’t, but after seeing the guy in the mask and the loin cloth get his, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I came away feeling strange, more like bittersweet. I then realized why my voice was laughing. I don’t fit “The X Factor” mold of talent.

I sing Rock, and I do everything that goes with it. I’m not good at following rules, if I do anything, it has to be my way, you know, I’m a rebel. I’m rebelious even with my voice. I prefer to write my own songs opposed to doing loads of covers. This is not to diss them, because I’m not, nor am I angry. It stings getting turned down, and of course I went home and let loose a few tears on my way home on the freeway. As much as I’ve been rejected, I’m not completely beyond reacting.

At the same time, I was able to look at the positive. I just wanted to go home to my husband and see my kids. By the time I pulled up to my house, I was back to my old steadfast to keep-moving-forward self. I have a show coming up at the Key Club in Hollywood and that makes me smile.

I still say, it’s worth it to try it. One gentlemen who went out the “Reject Door” with me told me he’d be back next year. I wished him luck because television producers are the hardest cats to figure out. You just have no idea what they’re looking for. However, that was my first and last time. I came away feeling that if I do this, I want to know I truly got it on my own terms.

I guess seven really isn’t my lucky number after all…or maybe it is.

[You can catch-up with Chaeya on the web at and listen to her music on ReverbNation.]

About the Author

Kathleen Blackwell Kathleen Blackwell: Founder & Editor HOLLYISCO • Freelance PR for Tech Startups in Silicon Beach • Previous Executive at Sony BMG Music Entertainment • Founder/CEO Saucy-Wear designer aprons sold at Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Neiman Marcus • Founder of multiple Music/Tech brands (including:) The Techie Awards | The Techie Minute | The .CONTENT. Conference | ROCK STOCK │ Cougar Rock │

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