Quinnipiac student shoots for dreams

By on November 21, 2002

Hundreds of people lined up a New York street. All anxiously awaiting the same thing: a sign that they would either get in the building or get some sort of signal that they would be seen by the awaiting scouts.
Each one of them was over come with the emotions of being nervous, jittery and scared.
This was the scene on Wall Street the night before American Idol started auditioning for next season.
Junior Mass communications Major, Valerie Pensa was there.
“It was a last minute decision to go into the city,” said Pensa. “We saw the crowds that were already lined up on the street and we decided that we just had to go for it.”
With the massive crowd already lined up, Pensa said it was a miracle that they got into the building to audition.
“We saw an opening in the crowd and we ran for it,” said Pensa. “This was the only way to obtain the wrist bands they were giving out to let you audition.”
After obtaining the band, Pensa said she had to wait to audition. Therefore, she came back home and contemplated whether to go back or not.
“I was torn at this point. I didn’t know if I should go back and audition or just stay at school,” said Pensa. “But what really bother me was that I didn’t yet fully get the support of my parents.”
On the day of the audition, Pensa left Quinnipiac at 4 a.m. and took a detour to her house in New Jersey to get the support of both her parents. Her and her mother then made the trip to New York.
“I wanted my mother to be there for when I auditioned,” said Pensa. “I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Then began the three-day audition process and Pensa’s new number identity of 3801.
Pensa went on to sing The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Huston for her auditions.
“The producers said that I have a good look and good hair,” said Pensa. “They also said that I had a lot of power in my voice.”
Pensa was then picked to audition in the next round. Pensa said she was told to go into a room and fill out forms and take a picture.
“When I found out I got to the next round I was excited,” said Pensa. “I went outside to find my mother and I called my roommates.”
There was 75 people called back for this round of auditions and all of them were crammed into a tiny room.
“It was a ridiculous scene,” said Pensa. “People were screaming and singing at the tops of their lungs.”
All the people in there were professionals who did this as their jobs. Pensa felt out of place.
“I was kind of made fun of,” she said.
Pensa was called into the auditioning room, 12 hours later, where she again sang The Greatest Love of All.
“I was a little nervous,” said Pensa. “But there was no pressure.”
After auditioning, the producers told her that she had a great voice, but that she was not what they were looking for at this time. They also told her that she was more of a Broadway singer.
“I never throught of myself as a broadway singer,” said Pensa. “I am more of a R and B singer.”
Pensa was about to leave when the producers called back into the room.
“I was confused then they called me back in,” said Pensa. “I was so physically tired that I didn’t know if I could take another audition.”
Pensa went in and sang for the official production staff. Pensa said she was singing the song for about 20 minutes and whenever she would stop, they would make her start over.
At the end, Pensa still didn’t make the cut.
“They told me that I wasn’t want they were looking for, because they were looking for someone with nowere else to go,” said Pensa. “I have friends and I have family that I would also look to.”
They also told her she had a great voice, that she could really make it in the music industry and that she was a lot like Kelly Clarkston, last year’s American Idol winner.
“I was upset, but I would go it again,” said Pensa. “I love to sing and knowing that they thought I was a good singer will always be in my head.”
Through this process, Pensa gained confidence and self-assurance.
“We were very proud of her,” said junior mass communications major Keri Zodda. “We all want to be famous, and she came the closest.”


About Kellie Gleeson