If you happened to be walking in the Colorado Mills Mall in Lakewood this weekend, you may have noticed a curious little booth that was brightly lit and featured Simon Cowell's trademark scowl. Opened on Saturday by Studio One Media, the MyStudio interactive recording studio is now offering aspiring singers and vocal groups a chance to audition for Fox's newest reality competition, The X Factor.
The booth, one of only six in the country so far, is a state-of-the-art facility where contestants record a two-minute a cappella performance along with a personal introduction. The best part: It's free. All styles of music are accepted and encouraged. "We've had everything from the National Anthem to Macy Gray," says James Houtz, who runs the booth.
The booth will remain at Colorado Mills permanently, but for those looking to get on the X Factor, auditions end on April 30. So warm up those vocal cords because Denver could produce the next great superstar. So we had to ask, why Denver? "For this region," says Holtz, "the I-70 corridor, Denver is the hub, so it makes sense."
While the typical casting call-style of auditions will still be held later on in the competition, MyStudio is unique in that it caters to a wider demographic of would-be superstars. "There are lots of stars out there who don't have the resources to get to places where they can audition, says Houtz. "This gives you your one chance just like everyone else."
James Houtz in front of the MyStudio recording booth. The booth features HD video and sound, as well as mastering tools to smooth any imperfections.
Houtz attempts to persuade some reluctant singers into recording an audition tape.
Peter Vigill, Denver, sang his favorite Christian song, "I Belong to Jesus." "This is a great opportunity for me to better my life," Vigill offered.
Grace Berzina, Arvada, entered the booth. The ten year old sang "America the Beautiful" and admitted to being a little unsettled from nerves. "I forgot to say my name, does that count for something bad?" she asked after her audition.
Victoria Slaughter, Denver, sang "Man in the Mirror." When asked why she should be chosen, she replied, "because I feel like I have what it takes."
Houtz shows a vocalist how to use the booth.
Rachel Thompson, Denver, sang "Jack Daniels" by Miranda Lambert. When asked about the booth she responded, "it was a little intense."
Mike Ulery of Bailey sang "Aint No Sunshine." When asked why he thought he had the "X Factor," he replied, "It's not about your age; it's about what you do with it."
Amanda Bammann of Boulder wanted to audition because, "I want to be on American Idol. It's been my dream since day one."
Along with Denver, there are MyStudio booths in Arizona, Hawaii, Tennessee, Alaska and Kansas.
Aijah Mcmillan of Denver sang "Diary" by Alicia Keys. When asked why she deserved to be on the X Factor, Mcmillan said, "I'm really fun, energetic and I can sing!"
Justin Neal from Baton, Texas, broke away from the norm and recorded some freestyle rapping.
One can choose different backgrounds based on the musical style they are performing, tailoring it to each performer.
In addition to X Factor auditions, MyStudio can also record regular videos. The videos are free to record and $20 to purchase a DVD. Once purchased, the customer owns the rights to the DVD and can do with the recording as they like.