By Ang Gilchrist
Cynthia O’Donnell of Rushville is no stranger to the music scene. She has been seen and heard on stages throughout Nebraska for several years, including her winning duet during the True Value Country Showdown held in Chadron last year. Anyone that has attended karaoke nights in Rushville has probably had the pleasure of listening to O’Donnell’s beautiful voice, as she and her husband, Joe, own and operate their own karaoke business.
O’Donnell just returned from a weekend trip to Memphis, Tenn., where she auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice”, a reality-based talent competition. She and her cousin, Ashley Pourier, took turns at the wheel during the 18 hour drive to Tennessee. They borrowed a tent and camped at Graceland to help defray the costs of the trip. Once in Memphis, O’Donnell joined many other musicians hoping to win a spot on the upcoming second season of “The Voice”.
O’Donnell chose to sing “Turn It Loose”, an upbeat country hit released by The Judds in 1988, as her audition song. She said she was surprised to learn that the ‘blind auditions’ were in fact held in front of a judge in a face-to-face setting, and not behind a screen or to the back of a chair as it appears on the television program. All potential contestants go through a pre-audition screening process and a few select artists are then chosen to compete on television.
“I knocked the judge’s socks loose enough she was dancing in her seat”, said O’ Donnell. Although she didn’t receive a second call-back audition, O’Donnell hasn’t given up on her hopes and dreams. She has an audition scheduled for this weekend in Minneapolis, Minn., but admits she may not make the trip due to being short on finances and her prior family obligations. In addition to Memphis and Minneapolis, auditions are being held in New York, N.Y. Dallas, Texas and Los Angeles, Calif. over the next few weeks. O’Donnell can do a video audition submission and she is still considering that option.
When asked what she had learned from her experience, O’Donnell stated that she would take the time to do more warm-ups before entering the stage for her audition. “It is a more intimate setting with fewer people in the room, and it makes me more nervous than when I am (performing) in front of a crowd.” O’ Donnell said overall it was a great experience and she was very thankful for all of the support of her family and friends.
By Ang Gilchrist