I’ve watched a few episodes of America's Got Talent when it 1st came on the air but never really got into it. In fact I'm not into any of those competition shows like Idol or Dancing with the Stars. Nor did I ever desire to be on one. BUT.... a few months ago, one of the producers of AGT contacted me after seeing my "Firefly" video on youtube. He said he could fit me in for a last minute audition for the following evening if I was available. It was explained I would be auditioning in front of the other producers, not in front of the celebrity judges. (So, I had no chance to hassle The Hoff.) After verifying this wasn't some sort of practical joke.. I figured what the heck! I'll do it! If I do make it on the show the mass exposure can only help me, as long as I didn't fall down, cry, or have a nervous break down. When I arrived at The McCormick Building for the audition it was about 10pm. I knew by now these producers/judges’ brains must be mush after God knows how many Elvis impersonators, dancers, jugglers, and…. oh yeah, about a freakin’ million other guitar players! Hopefully I can still make some sort of impression.
After signing a dozen or so contracts and pretending to understand the legal mumbo jumbo, I was led to the audition room by a guy with a clipboard where I was handed off to another guy with another clipboard who informed me that I only had 60 seconds to play something. He opened one of the big double doors he gently nudged me into this massive banquet room. There was nothing in there except a few producers sitting at a large rectangle table with a camera crew at the opposite end of the room. As I walked the 50 yards to them I quickly decided I would have enough time to retune my guitar to play “Boxcar Man”. I was not confident I would make much of an impression with “Firefly” in only 60 seconds. With “Boxcar Man” I would only need 20.
So, after the usual pleasantries with the designated producer in-charge and the fixing of some kind of technical problem with one of the cameras… they told me to begin playing. I composed myself, geared-up and fired away! I was only about 2 beats into the song when I heard a collective gasp from what had to be nearly everyone in the room. That’s a good sign! I thought to myself… “Jimmy-my-boy, you’re in! This is only the intro… wait till they hear the rest.”
After I finished my 60 second self proclaimed master piece, they asked if they could ask me a question. This is where the rest of the story kinda goes south. I gotta say I was expecting the usual questions I hear from time to time like.. How long have you been playing?... How did you come up with that style?... No, instead one of the producers asked me… “What kind of obstacles have you had to overcome to get to this point in your life?” Huh?? Oh crap… I know what there doing. They’re looking for some kind of back story to exploit. They want to hear how I was a drug addict until music saved me and how my Mother needs an operation. But, all I could think of was how the traffic sucked on I88. So… I told them that… followed by, “I know what you’re really asking here but, I’m happy to say I’ve led a pretty good life. I’ve stayed off drugs, didn’t join any gangs and to top it off, I don’t have an eccentric personality.”
Needless to say, I never heard from America’s Got Talent again… and that’s OK. I probably would have fallen down, cried, or had a Susan Boyle-like breakdown on national TV and really embarrassed myself. In order to keep my confidence up I’d like to think I had the talent but lacked the drama. Maybe I’ll try again next year... after robbing a bank and having a sex change operation.