Raul Polidario said he felt calm and confident as he made his way to Sunday's audition session for NBC's popular singing-competition show, "The Voice."
That confidence took a hit, though, the minute he walked through the doors at Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
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"There were so many people here!" the 27-year-old Mundelein resident said. "So I felt a little nervous. But I also feel ready to do this."
Polidario was one of hundreds of people from all over the Midwest who attended the open-call auditions for "The Voice" on both Saturday and Sunday in Rosemont. A lucky few will be asked to perform again this coming week in Chicago -- the first step toward actually making it to the program. The sixth season of "The Voice" will hit NBC in late February.
Each person who auditioned had to sing at least one song, with no background tracks or musical accompaniment, in front of show evaluators. The celebrity "coaches" who appear on "The Voice" -- recording artists Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green -- did not attend the auditions.
Sue Pryde of Wauconda was among those in line for Sunday's 2 p.m. audition call. A fan of country and blues-based music, Pryde planned to sing Trisha Yearwood's "Down On My Knees" in her audition.
"At the moment, I feel fine," Pryde said with a smile. "I just hope I don't fall on the floor during the actual audition."
Marissa Jaeckel of Vernon Hills planned to sing "Next to Me" by Emeli Sande. Jaeckel, who went through auditions for "The Voice" two years ago, got comfortable with performing while in a cover band in college.
"I feel good today," she said. "I know it's a one-in-a-million chance, but it's fun."
Maria Sanchez of Oswego, a senior at Oswego High School, said she's been singing since fourth grade. She planned to perform "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel in her audition.
"For the most part, I'm a country girl, but I also like Broadway (music)," Sanchez said. "Broadway lets you do a lot more with the vocals."
Camille Eiseman of Crystal Lake has a lot of experience with both singing and competition. Two years ago, she was part of a country-rock duo called Faith & Whisky that made it to the Top 5 in "Suburban Chicago's Got Talent," an entertainment contest co-sponsored by the Daily Herald. She said she would sing either "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt or "Little White Church" by Little Big Town at Sunday's audition.
"I've done lots of practice, just going over these songs again and again," she said. "So I feel pretty good."