TULSA - It was a Tuesday morning in August, during a commercial break on the midday show, when I mentioned to my co-anchor Deana Silk that I had always thought about auditioning for one of those singing shows.
I considered trying out for American Idol years ago but never went through with it. This time, it was The Voice I was considering.
Deana encouraged me to give it a shot. I seriously doubted I was the voice they were looking for, but maybe she was right. Maybe it was finally the time to find out if I was good enough.
Exactly one week later, I was on a plane to Los Angeles.
I remember sitting at the gate at the Tulsa airport thinking, " What in the world am I doing?"
But there was no turning back now.
When I arrived at my hotel in Long Beach I turned on the local TV news, just in time to see a story about The Voice auditions, which had started that day. Watching some of those singers on the news gave me a bit of a confidence boost. It's safe to say none of them would be confused with Sinatra or Streisand.
I would need that confidence boost the next morning, the day of my audition.
I woke up around four that morning to do a live phone interview on 2NEWS Today, and then I hopped in my rental car and headed to the Los Angeles Forum.
Talk about intimidating.
The Forum is one of the most legendary entertainment venues in the world. Elvis performed there. And Michael Jackson rehearsed there for his "This Is It" tour just before he died. Now it was almost time for me to sing there in front of a group of strangers.
The nerves were kicking in.
When I got in line at the Forum around 6:30 that morning, it was clear this could be a very long day. There appeared to be close to 1,000 people in line in front of me, but to my surprise, when the producers opened the doors of the Forum at seven, we quickly made it inside.
There, we were divided up to wait in yet another line. And this one didn't move nearly as quickly as the one outside. After waiting close to an hour, one of the producers of the show stood on top of a chair and shouted out our instructions.
We were told to be our authentic selves, sing something modern, and that if we forget the lyrics to our songs, just make some up. If there was one thing I was confident about, it was my lyrics. I had spent the past week rehearsing with a vocal coach in Bixby. Working together, we chose Michael Buble's "Home" as my song. We selected a verse and a chorus from the song to focus on, which I knew was all the producers would want to hear. I knew the lyrics well. I felt I was ready.
Finally, it was time.
After being divided into groups of 10, we were shuffled into a tiny audition room. And I mean tiny. It was smaller than your average bedroom.
The one producer at a table at the front of the room said he would call us up one-by-one. He told us that after we were called, he would expect us to name the the song we had chosen, and then go straight into our singing.
The first woman called up forgot her lyrics. Then the producer said the four words I was dreading - " Justin Wilfon you're next," he said.
I walked to the center of the room and began singing, but within seconds the producer interrupted me. What had I done wrong? Was I so bad that he was cutting me off already? The answers were no and no.
I had forgotten to name the song I would be singing, before I started singing it. Great, I had screwed up already!
But, all I could do was name my song and start singing it again. As I was singing, despite my nerves, I felt like I was hitting all the notes. Within 30 seconds, it was over.
I made it through my verse and chorus without forgetting a word, and without passing out!
As he told us to expect, the producer said nothing. The other singers applauded and I took my seat.
Now it was time to watch the other eight singers perform before I learned my fate. As I watched them sing though, I realized I didn't need the producer to tell me what was becoming clear.
Many of the other singers were better than me.
Sure enough, after all of us sang, the producer called on only one person to stay in the room for the second round of auditioning, and it wasn't me.
I can honestly say I didn't feel the least bit of disappointment. I walked out of that room and out to my car feeling very good about myself. I had done something few others have the courage to do.
Now, all these months later, I'm still glad I did it. Even if my voice -- wasn't The Voice.
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