At 16, “The Voice” winner Danielle Bradbery may be the show’s youngest singer, but if Basmin Red Deer has her way, she’ll be the oldest.
“We’ll see if they discriminate on age,” said Red Deer, 53, of St. Louis.
The producers of the highly rated NBC show are in town this weekend to hold auditions for the first time in St. Louis, and area singers have been tuning up in hopes of landing their big break.
Producers promise to see all registrants at Chaifetz Arena beginning at 7 a.m. today and Sunday. As of Friday on nbcthevoice.com, today’s registration was closed; Sunday’s was still open. Some of the savvier singers have lined up private auditions, allowing them to avoid the long lines.
The show’s original lineup of judges, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera, are back for the upcoming Season 5, but the judges are not part of the early audition process and are not in St. Louis this weekend.
Red Deer, a clerk at the Schlafly branch of the St. Louis Public Library who also has performed for 20 years at local venues, says this weekend will be the first time she has auditioned for a TV singing competition.
She has seen only a couple episodes of “The Voice.” “I don’t really watch those kind of things, the reality TV show sort of thing,” Red Deer said Thursday. “But a number of people have told me to do it, and I said I’ll go for it.
“It’s a great chance for exposure, and I’m taking it as an adventure. If it takes me beyond that, then great. If not, I’m not devastated. I know I can sing.”
Will Robinson, 28, from St. Louis, is an old pro at auditioning. He has tried out for “The Voice” twice before, and also auditioned for “American Idol” and the relaunched version of “Star Search.”
Robinson said his first audition for the show in Chicago in 2011 was a bit of a “deer caught in the headlights” experience for him, but this year he’s walking in relaxed.
“I’m getting plenty of rest,” said Robinson, who plans to perform a Luther Vandross song. “I was maybe overzealous before and didn’t perform to the best of my ability because I wanted to make it so bad. Now I’m more confident with the growth I’ve made, and I’m more comfortable being myself.”
Theresa Payne, 28, plans on showing up with a Beyoncé song for her audition.
“I’m in the mindframe that with this being a TV show, I need to sell myself vocally and image-wise, and give them something to remember me by,” Payne said. “I always want to come in as myself, not someone they have to make, shape or mold.
“I want to show them I already have star quality,” she said.
That’s music to Michelle McNulty’s ears. “The Voice” casting director says it’s important for contestants to be themselves.
“The best advice is to sing songs that show us what type of artist you are, meaning if you are a pop singer, sing pop songs. If you are a country singer, sing country songs,” McNulty said. “Song choice is everything, so be sure to pick songs that showcase and fit your voice.”
Caroline Glaser of Chesterfield went through the process last season, passing through the blind audition rounds and into the show’s top 20. Glaser, who is writing songs for an upcoming EP, says many people have approached her for auditioning advice.
“My main advice to everyone is to not let your nerves get to you,” Glaser said. “It’s hard. It’s a big deal if you think of it as a big deal, if you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be on TV.’ Just treat it like a fun performance singing for a couple of people.”