I could have been a Pop Idol: "A verse and a chorus, please"
"Are you the next Robbie Williams or Madonna?" screamed the advert for Pop Idol, the quest for the solo superstar of 2002.
Hmm... it should've been more like, "Do you want to be humiliated on national television in front of our four 'celeb' judges" Namely Nicki 'Billie's ex-manager' Chapman, Simon 'I signed Westlife' Cowell, Dr. 'You're listening to Capital FM' Fox and Pete 'I've had twenty-one no.1 hits' Waterman?" But then again, that wouldn't be correct either, for I was one of the 7,000 hopefuls who auditioned for Pop Idol, TV's latest reality show, and can tell you that I did not even get to see the 'star' panel. Why not? I guess I just wasn't good enough… or, after watching the show, perhaps that should be bad enough…
Being the huge Popstars fan that I am, I jumped at the chance of being a part of Pop Idol.
The application form featured an array of interesting questions, such as "How well can you sing?" and "Describe yourself in ten words". I thought about putting "psycho axe murderer" but changed my mind… I opted for "gorgeous, talented, intelligent, funny, lovely" instead. Hey, at least I'm honest.
My audition was on a Wednesday afternoon and after arriving I was led to a plush modern cafeteria with glass windows. I walked inside and to my right were production crew members rather cheekily attempting to sell Pop Idol merchandise to auditionees - which, to me, epitomises the whole purpose of the show - money, money, money... is so funny… in a rich man's world. ABBA? No, I decided to sing Aerosmith instead and popped outside for a quick rendition of "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" after registering and plastering my rather fetching "Pop Idol - 6688" sticker over my chest.
Before I knew it, my time came.
I took a deep breath and entered the audition room, exclaiming a cheesy "Hiya!" as I opened the door. A blonde woman was sat at the table, with a cameraman next to her and a sound guy to my left dangling his big furry thing in front of me. Aherm.
Composing myself, I cleared my throat and sang my heart out to the camera. "I could stay awake… and I don't wanna miss a thing." After my rendition, the blonde table-sitting lady said: "Do you want to come get a letter and we'll see you on Friday?" to which I jumped up and squealed, "Oh my god!" in the most Brian and Helen-esque way possible. And then for some reason I thought that blowing kisses would somehow restore my dignity as I raced out of the room screaming, blue letter in hand. Running into the waiting area, my two-member fan club (aka friends Nicky and Sarala) screamed and hugged me, as a camera filmed. Oh, the pressures of fame! Not even my earlier embarrassment of being (nicely) told off for singing in the toilets could've dampened my delight. A brief interview with Colin from the production team ensued, in which he explained that I would have to impress the main producer on Friday before getting my chance in front of the 'star' panel. Still, I was now 'one step closer' to my dream… (For non-Hear'Say fans, "One Step Closer" is the name of a Hear'Say track - get it?)
I arrived at my callback on Friday in high spirits (and no, missing double Statistics had nothing to do with it). Another day, another sticker (which I've since kept as a souvenir). The waiting area is almost empty this time as we're told that fewer than 10% made it through. (Cue "Wow!") Again, we waited to go in one by one, joking and laughing in line. Little did I know that the quiet and reserved guy called William (Young) next to me would go on to become one of the favourites to win the show. Or that the outrageous blonde Carla Winters I was joking with would go on to pose for Page 3.
Soon it was my turn to go in. Went in. Sang. Pause.
"Erm… you're not what we're looking for... you've got a good voice but your voice isn't distinctive enough... you sing too nasally - at times you sounded like you were singing with a speech impediment."
Stunned and defeated, I left the room disappointed, with the thought that at least I was going to a Hear'Say concert that evening.
Sadly I never got to see the lovely Nicki Chapman, Simon Cowell or Dr. Fox, though I did see Pete Waterman - he only walked past me in the corridor but let me tell you what Pete said about Kylie Minogue: "The first time I saw Kylie, I walked straight past her…"