Having her clothes planned out and taking her time with her make-up, the nerves started to get the best of her and would greatly jump back on a plane and go home. Luckily Kelsie was there to assure her she’ll be great. She picked out a dark grey vest top with a black kimono and dark denim jeans with her black trainers, Ryleigh kept her blonde hair down and made her eyeliner slightly thick.
On her way in the car with Kelsie, she talked her over again what’s going to happen and to listen to the producers. They make it to the studio and Ryleigh gets out of the car.
‘Hold it there, lets take a picture.’ She gets her phone out and takes a picture of Ryleigh by the car. ‘A nice start for your soon-to-be fans.’ She gives a small smile.
On her way into the studio, Kelsie gives her one more prep talk.
‘Now I know you’re nervous, once you go in take a seat and relax. Talk to some of the contestants if you want to and smile.’ Ryleigh nodded and wanders into the studio set.
All the cameras and lights arranged with a seating area for her to sit on and opposite is 3 chairs and a panel of the logo of the show on the front. Facing it stood a microphone. Her opponents sat waiting, increasing her nerves. The tats, colourful hair and the dark clothing they’d resembled a rock star, while Ryleigh looks like she’s about to pick up the kids from school.
She spotted an empty seat next to a girl with dark purple laired scene hair in loose French plats with a Nirvana t-shirt and ripped black skinny jeans. Her luxe eyeliner, purple eye-shadow and light pink lipstick made her brownish eyes and skin glow.
‘Sup, I’m Ester.’ She graciously introduced herself.
‘Ryleigh.’ She replied. ‘Congrats on getting on the show.’
‘Thank you. This Brooklyn gal isn’t going to stop at nothing. What state you from?’ As Ester continued talking, Ryleigh caught her eye on another contestant walking in with his hood up perching behind them a few rows across, she heard to her question.
‘I’m actually from the UK.’
‘Oh my god, are you from England?’ She delivered a strong American accent. ‘Jokes, I’m not like that.’ Ryleigh chuckled, the culture joke phrase when Britons come to the USA shifting to a trend. ‘Should I say hello guvnor’
‘No, we don’t do that.’ Ryleigh shook her head and Ester shrugs.
Next to Ester sits a girl with blue hair with dark roots, a lip ring with a full right side sleeve tattoo in black and white, in the corner of the eye Ryleigh caught that guy again who walked in.
‘Right, here we go.’ A skinny bloke with glass came up to the stage. ’I’m going to call out your names just to check you are all here, just say yes….
Harper.…Jayden.…Melody…. Ester….Dylan….Elliot…..Tessa….Rory….Kaylin…..Ashton……Blake….and Rayleigh?′
One by one they all said their “here”, but he got her name incorrect.
‘It’s Ryleigh.’ She corrects him and he apologies.
‘So the judges will be here soon, the cameras will start rolling on you so enjoy and good luck.’ Ryleigh takes a deep breath to soothe and the stage lights go darker. The host of the show performs the introducing speech and welcomes the judges.
There he was Marcus Lothrow, she’s seen him and his band live a few times but to be up close remained memorizing. She recognized the other two judges too and knows their band and music. They take their seats and the host calls them up, Dylan went first. One by one she was listening and observing carefully, they’re all talented in their own way, the girl with the blue hair, Kaylin brought a sexy element on stage. While Ester had a fun approach, a way to interact with an audience. ”What the fuck am I doing here? There’s no way I can compete with these, is there a back door I can sneak out?” The other fellow contestants dreamed of doing it and continued performing for a lifetime and some UK chick shows up never performed and stopped writing 10 years ago, looking like someone who isn’t taken it seriously.
‘Ryleigh?’ Sidetracked from her thoughts, she proceeded to the stage. The spotlight shined on her too bright making her eyes squint and couldn’t see anybody, her eyes eventually adjusted to the brightness.
‘Tell us about yourself.’ Aimee said as she’s one of the judges, her bright red hair and neck tattoos with strong vocals, presented a great role model for the female market.
‘I’m Ryleigh, I’m 28 years old and I’m a graphic designer from the UK.’
‘Wait? As in England Britain.’ Marcus asked, she nodded. ‘Ah nice bring something different to the competition.’
‘So why are you here?’ Aimee asked.
‘Eer, I’ve always wanted to do this.’ She started to go shy.
‘How long have you’ve been performing?’
‘This is actually my first time.’ She overheard a tut from one of the contestants and a few giggles, they clearly thought she’s unexperienced, the judges seem surprised. ‘But I like to write and record my own stuff.’
‘So you’re going to play the track you sent in?’ Marcus asked. At the back of the room, she saw Kelsie giving her the signal to mention the new track.
‘Em, actually the track I originally sent to enter I recorded it ten years ago and I’ve written a new one yesterday.’
‘Ok, let’s hear it.’ Kelsie gave her the thumbs up as a well done. Ryleigh gripped tight onto the microphone.
As the first note was detected, she blocked the world around her and went for it, she pitched in the right places and breathed at the correct parts, three and a half minutes later it all finished.
She looked around and saw them applauding as they’ve been doing for each other.
‘Thank you Ryleigh.’ Aimee said.
‘I noticed that you were a bit nervous, but with a bit of guidance, I think you’ll be fine. She’s on my team.’ Marcus says. Ryleigh gleaming with joy, saying thank you and sat back down, Ester gave her thumbs up and a smile.
‘Ok, last one is Rory.’ The guy with the hood up went to the stage.
‘My name is Rory, I’m 31 from LA.’ He spoke to the microphone, he got asked why he’s here. ‘I’m not good at anything else plus I need to show that I can change.’ As he starts singing something drew Ryleigh into him, his stage performance and can’t understand why he’s not signed on already.
What if I told you that I can’t fight the battles,
That you’ve built for me,
There’s isn’t a way to set the devil free,
Pray as much as you like,
I will keep on believing,
That I want to change from being me.
His vocals were strong with some growls while he sings some words, he is the sort of person she would be attracted to and would go and see live, it baffled her why he wasn’t known at all.
After he finished and picked on the same team as Ryleigh, they yelled cut.
All of the PA’s for each of them were watching.
‘You were amazing!’ Kelsie said, ‘Great job on mentioning the new track.’
‘It was ok, I didn’t make a tit of myself?’ Ryleigh asked.
‘Not one bit.’ And winks at her. ‘Right, the next part is getting you all into the house and getting to know each other. I’ll meet you there.’
The contestants went on the minibus and travelled up the mountain overlooking LA, she sat next to Ester.
‘Hey Ryleigh, is that actually your first time performing?’ A guy tapped her on the shoulder from behind and remembered his name is Elliot, his worn-out baseball cap and black hoodie with loose bootcut trousers.
‘Yeah, it actually was. Great performance by the way.’ She responded.
‘Cheers blondie.’ And offers her a fist bump.
‘Are you sure you’re up to this?’ The girl with the blue hair Kaylin spoke sat opposite them.
‘Well, they see something in me and I’m not going to let him down.’ And gives her a “you don’t bother me smile” and Kaylin didn’t like that.