Monday, March 5, 2012

Hola! Bonjour! What up!

We felt like we should begin by saying hello in a couple different languages since were are esteemed world travelers now! And by world travelers, we mean we went to Illinois..close enough to around the world...

We were given this past weekend off of softball and we thought it would be the PERFECT time to cross a few things off our bucket list. When scrolling through twitter one day, I (Emily) noticed that there were upcoming auditions for season 3 of The Voice. Naturally, I checked into it and found they were being held in Chicago on Saturday March 3rd. 5 minutes later, with the OK from Coach and Robin, and I was signed up. Then Ash, being the grrrrreat friend that she is, knew I would need a wing man and quickly signed up herself...even though she had never sang in front of people before, or been in a choir, or used her voice for anything you could call musical.

The original plan was for me to try out solo and for Ashley and Jenny Hess to prepare a duo act. But, Jen couldn't get off work so Ash was turned into a solo artist. Season 3 is scheduled to air in November/December of 2012 but there are 5-7 audition steps before you'd actually get to try out on the show. We signed up for step #1. This included preparing two songs acapella (without music) that you would sing in front of a judge. If you got asked for a call back, you'd have to prepare 3 songs...1 of which you'd have to accompany yourself on (guitar or piano) and the other two which you'd sing to a track.

Without giving it too much thought, we jumped in the car on Friday afternoon and headed to Chicago. There were several things that warranted worries from our parents and coach and robin...

1. We're Ashley Meinen and Emily Muller
2. We don't have the cleanest driving records
3. The weather was terrible
4. We've never driven in Chicago before
5. We've never driven through tolls
6. We had ZERO idea of where the audition was or how to get there
7. We definitely didn't read the fine print to this whole idea
8. Our creative minds have tended to get us into trouble in the past...

Naturally, we didn't see how ANYTHING could go wrong. I guess you could understand why a select few were worried...

The trip started out on a great note. We stopped at Kwik Trip to get some snacks and gasoline. And by snacks we mean anything and everything that we could see found its way to the register with us. (Our food logs are looking FABULOUS). However, before going into the store, I managed to lock my keys in my car. I KNEW there was a reason I put the spare key in my purse! Crisis avoided.

We then hit the road. Destination: Kenosha. Our plan (which was a very minimal plan) was to drive to my sister's house in Kenosha that night and then head to Chicago in the morning for our 2:00 audition. We made it to Madison without any issues and then mother nature had her way. The rest of the trip consisted of us going about 25-35mph through drifts of snow. We were passing cars in the ditch left and right, sirens were going off and you had to guess where the lanes were. PERFECT conditions for my go-kart of a car. We managed to stay on the road and minimally fishtail before making it to Kenosha 6 hours after our departure. It was supposed to take us 4.5 hours. But we were safe :)

We got to sleep in the next morning (which felt amazing after a crazy week of morning practices) and dolled ourselves up. We had to look good if we were going to become famous! We left for Chicago at 10:00 am...allowing plenty of time for us to get lost or our car to break down. Surprisingly, the trip went well...minus the whole toll booth experience when the window wouldn't roll down. You can imagine. Side Note: being polite is NOT a requirement to work at the toll booth. Anyway, we got to Chicago around 11:15 and went to my cousin's house. We had lunch with her, practiced our songs, Ash finally learned her lyrics (kinda) and we headed to the audition.

We got to McCormick Place(which is larger than the city of Eau Claire) around 1:15 for our 2:00 audition...25,000 other people did the same. We hopped in line and waited...and waited...and waited...and waited...While we waited, we met some of the most INTERESTING people we've ever met.

There were the two girls eating honey and rubbing it on their vocal regimen that we've never heard of...

Some guy attempting to play his guitar which sounded wonder he hadn't made his last 14 auditions for American Idol, The X Factor, America's Got Talent and the previous seasons of The Voice. We told him to find a new dream...perhaps he should try the toll booth...that looked simple enough...

Then there was the guy dressed in socks..
The 70 year old who apparently stole her 16 year old granddaughter's purple sequin dress...
The guy next to us who was more concerned with what strip club he was going to that night..
The guy who didn't eat dairy for the past month because he was afraid of how it would affect his vocal cords...
And the girl who was just upset because her mom made her come to the audition...

Need we say more?

After 3 hours we made it to the "front of the line"...or so we thought. We finally had to show our passes and our ids to the security guards who then told us that we still had to wait 4 MORE HOURS. We started to get bitter. Our UWEC basketball team made it into the NCAA regional tournament and after their win on Friday night, were playing at the University of Chicago at 7:00. We wanted very badly to see this game and this whole 4 more hour wait was interfering with that. We compromised that if we weren't anywhere near the actual audition by 6:00 pm that we would leave.

We made it to the check in point...which consisted of more lines. When we were standing in these lines you could hear hundreds of people behind this huge wall singing and clapping and cheering for one another. We looked at each other and thought CRAP. If that's how we have to audition, we're screwed. Fight or flight, and Ashley was flighting. We made it past check in, went behind the wall, and were relieved to find that it was just another waiting room...except they gave us chairs this time...our high heeled boots were getting heavy..and definitely not made for walking :)

We were separated into groups of 10...ash and I strategically made sure we were in the same group. It was here that we got to know our group members pretty well since we spent the next 2.5 hours shoved shoulder to shoulder with them. And boy did they keep us we did to them. We were told at this time that the call backs for this audition were in 2 days. Where other people were freaking out, Ash and I just started laughing. The guy next to us asked what was so funny and we simply said, "we can't make the call back anyway...we have school and practice...and we want to get to a basketball game tonight." He was appalled. He told us this was his dream and that he couldn't believe that we weren't taking it seriously. We shrugged our shoulders and said "we just had the weekend off and wanted to cross some things off the bucket list"...

The other guy next to us explained that trying out for these shows was more of a hobby for him now. We told him that Ashley had actually never sang in front of people before and that she was worried that she'd get to the audition, panic and then only remember the words to Salt and Peppa's SHOOP. He then asked us if we'd ever seen Ellen Degeneres' HERE AND NOW...instantly best friends...

Finally, at about 5:15, our row of 10 people got another floor of the wait some more. We played musical chairs as different groups got called up and FINALLY, at 6:20 pm..our group was called..but not after some rando started singing "I believe I can fly" at the top of his lungs while waiting in line for the 5:00 this point, we were used to things like this...

We filed into the room and took our place in the chairs. We performed for one judge...a casting director...each person was called up and they had to stand on the X and sing one verse and a chorus from a song of their choice. Our favorite was the 50 year old biker chic who was there with her daughter and sang about loving something red neck...not really sure...I was distracted by Ashley trying to cover her laugh attack. We each took our turns...I sang "I can't make you love me" by Bonnie Rait and Ashley sang a STELLAR version of "Hell on Heels" by The Pistol Annies. What makes it worse/funnier is that Ashley was called last out of the ten. And knowing that she was the worst after hearing everyone else made her oh so confident to get up there and let her talent shine. Potential medical emergencies crossed her mind to get out of it but she sang...BEAUTIFULLY? Sadly, at this point, we were told "Thank you for coming"...but you're terrible...or something along those lines...

We got out of the room and one of our new friends was just shaking from the audition. She proceeded to tell us how nervous she was and that her fly was down the entire performance and that's all she could think of. HA

We then left the McCormick place...screamed to everyone waiting that we were going to Hollywood (they started clapping for us)...shoved some Jimmy Johns in our faces and hopped in a cab to the basketball game.

We made it to the game just in time for the national anthem...I'm not sure why they didn't ask us to sing. We met up with Robin who was there as the administrator and told her allllll about our adventure...she was just glad we were still alive and friends :) The basketball team ended up losing a heart breaker to undefeated was a great game and we were glad we made it there...

We then had to find a way BACK to my car..which was at my cousins...who decided she didn't want to pick us up anymore. Convenient. Cabs weren't exactly plentiful by the University of Chicago so we had BRILLIANT idea #1789...we were going to walk...approximately 70 blocks...still in our boots that aren't made for walking or wearing for over an hour.

We set out, made it about 30 minutes towards what we think was the direction we needed to go, and were saved only by a barbed-wire fence from two angry dogs. Enough was enough in this ghetto...we needed to find a cab...

Apparently jumping jacks aren't an adequate way to get cabs to pick you up...we found this out very quickly. After waiting another 10 minutes, we finally found a cab to take us to our car. We headed back to Kenosha, had dinner at about 1:00 am...and then rested our very very sore feet...and voices of course.

We headed back to Eau Claire around noon the next day. I think we enjoyed the 13 hours in the car toooo much this weekend. We jammed to about every song possible...consumed way to many cheese balls and milk shakes...and had sooooooo much fun. We provided a video for your entertainment below.

We decided that after we got home that there was actually only 1 positive to the trip. We were still alive and still friends. And that was enough for us. Hollywood will have to wait until next year when we try out as a duo act.

As far as softball is concerned (since we really haven't mentioned it yet!), we're eager to get outside and to go on spring break. Practice inside is getting old but we're trying to find new ways to use our time and get better every far so good.

We hope you were entertained by our adventure. Even though we didn't make it and will not be famous (yet) we had a blast and it was a GREAT weekend away from the normal Eau Claire life.

Now for the video...which needs a little background information..

Our sophomore year we took a bus to the leadoff classic in Panama City Beach, FL. This was 23 hours on a bus...with EVERYONE. We played a little game called "Deaf Karaoke" where someone puts in headphones and plays on song on their ipod. They turn the volume up allll the way so that they can't hear themselves sing, only the song. The audience can only hear the person singing and not the's hilarious and we convinced coach to give it a try. Usually you're not allowed to pick your song to sing but that was the only way she'd do it. So she picked Love Shack and Boondocks. It is potentially top five favorite memories of softball hearing her sing those songs and we even made up our own version of the song to fit her life. "Coach feels no shame, she's proud of where she came from, she was born and raised in IOWA". When this song came on the radio on our ride home, we just had to make a dedication video for her :) We've included the original of her singing on the bus (the less embarrassing of the two), and then our new one from the weekend! Enjoy!



Have a fabulous week! We'll see ya next Sunday!

M and M

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