Singin’ for fame

Denise Watt

Denise Watt

At first, Stefanie and Tracie Fauth may not look like sisters.

Both tall, one brunette and one blonde, the girls from Miller seem quite different-until they begin telling stories. Stories about childhood memories, future dreams and a shared love of music.

That love of music drove the Fauths to audition for the TV reality show “American Idol” in Minneapolis.

“I liked the show,” said Stefanie, who planned to audition since this summer, when a friend encouraged her to go to the Minnesota tryouts.

“I decided when I heard Stef say, ‘Please come with me,'” Tracie said. “I never watched the show. I was just curious about the process.”

Other SDSU students made the journey to audition as well. Fifth-year political science major Becky Charles auditioned, thanks in part to a call from her friend, Olivia (Gentry) Lefers.

“We hadn’t gotten the chance to do something, just the two of us, for a really long time,” Charles said.

“It was an amazing experience.”

Charles arrived when the registration lines opened on Wednesday morning, Sept. 6. “It was huge. There were so many people,” she said.

“You met a lot of really cool people when you were in the lines.”

After showing identification, auditioners received a ticket and wristband.

Both Fauths and Charles estimated about 5,000 people showed up for the auditions, which took place on Friday, Sept. 8, in the Target Center.

All contestants were divided into voice parts and learned to sing Prince’s “1999” a capella, in addition to “an hour and a half of cheering,” Tracie said.

Stefanie said she was sad to learn how everything had been set up for TV. “We were doing all this stuff to make sure the crowd shots looked nice,” she said.

“We’re trying to act all excited at six in the morning,” said Tracie, a freshman communications major specializing in theatre.

Contestants were divided into groups and put into 12 lines, each staffed with a producer and production assistant, Stefanie said.

“That was a long frickin’ day,” said the fifth-year Spanish major. Her group auditioned at 2 p.m.

Charles had to go first in her line. “I just had to let ‘er rip. And I did.”

All three girls noticed the costumed contestants. One dressed as William Shakespeare received a golden pass to audition for Simon, Paula and Randy after he had already been told to go through the ‘not-winner’ door, Charles said.

“I’d do it again (audition) just for the people-watching,” she said.

“Everyone asked me if it was something I would do again. I would not,” Stefanie said.

“They’re looking for ratings,” not necessarily for the best musicians, she said. “It really shoots your spirit down when you see all these good people get shot down.”

Even so, Stefanie said she didn’t regret the experience. She said she plans to begin writing music again.

“Going to the ‘American Idol’ thing made me realize it’s not about the fame. It’s about the music,” she said.

Charles has been singing since age six. Now, she sings primarily for weddings. Even with her experience, she said, “I felt like I was going to throw up.”

She sang “Somebody to Love,” by Queen.

Even though she said she had no intentions of making it further than the audition, the “American Idol” experience may prove good practice for Charles, who plans to move to New York City and work in international government after she graduates. She said she promised her family and friends that she will audition for a Broadway show.

Broadway may become a destination for the Fauth sisters as well. Both girls have acting ambitions and plan to try out for more reality TV. Stefanie plans to audition for “The Next Food Network Star,” while Tracie plans to try out for “America’s Next Top Model.”

#1.884238:850382805.JPG:Idol01.JPG:Becky Charles belts out a tune, just like for her American Idol tryout.:Erin Lester