Submitted Lafayette's Angel Vannasdale was among the more than 3,000 individuals trying out for "America's Got Talent" in Knoxville on Nov. 15.


Lafayette's Angel Vannasdale was among the more than 3,000 individuals trying out for "America's Got Talent" in Knoxville on Nov. 15.

Angel Vannasdale is one of the contestants.

However, she's simply playing a waiting game right now.

Vannasdale was one of more than 3,000 individuals to audition for "America's Got Talent" at the Knoxville Convention Center on Nov. 15.

"It was amazing," Vannasdale said. "It was cold outside. They had 3,000-plus to show up. Even though you may have had a time that you were supposed to be there, it did go over (beyond the scheduled audition time).

"They took us in groups of 50 into different rooms, and that's where you did your audition. They had everything from ventriloquists, musicians, Elvis impersonators, drag queens, children who were playing Bluegrass music. They were playing dobros. I was just amazed. Kane was a big wrestler, and he (who is now the Knoxville mayor, Glen Jacobs) came out and introduced himself and welcomed everybody to Knoxville. He thanked everybody for coming. They locked the doors at 7 o'clock that night and didn't let anybody else. They let 3,258 in."

It turned into a waiting game for most of the individuals auditioning.

"My audition was (scheduled) at 1," Vannasdale said. "They had six different audition rooms. I was finally in an audition room at about 10 minutes until 6. They locked the doors at 7 o'clock. That was the entrance doors to the convention center. They were still going strong at 11 o'clock on Thursday night with their auditions.

"It was an amazing experience."

The 52-year-old Lafayette resident sang Luke Bryan's song, "Drink a Beer."

"I figure that there's a lot of people who could relate to that," Vannasdale said. "I was so nervous. When I first went in, I couldn't even write. I had to get my sister (Latini Smith) to fill out my paperwork. By the time I got in there (to audition), I wasn't nervous anymore. It was an experience that I was blessed to be able to experience."

Vannasdale had a personal connection to the message in the song.

"I lost my mom in December of 2016," Vannasdale said. "We called hospice in. We were all standing outside looking at each other, and I just busted out singing Luke Bryan's 'Drink a Beer.'

"It's kind of comforting. It's about getting a phone call. They're letting you know somebody has passed. You can't even bring yourself to say anything. You hang the phone up and start walking and end up in a pier … they would sit on the pier and drink a beer. It goes on to say that you're not supposed to question God. The good ones go on. So many (people) can relate to it. It seems like a good song."

Vannasdale had to perform acapella.

"They did not want anybody playing music unless you were doing a dance," Vannasdale said. "They wanted to be able to hear your voice and see if you could carry a tune. So, it was done acapella.

"As they would get up and do their thing … there was a gentleman sitting beside of me, and he was with his 14-year-old daughter. Every time somebody would get up, he would say, 'They're awful.' My number was finally called about 6:35. When I did my audition, he was standing up and applauding. He was asking my name. It made me feel good. I was expecting to get the same thing, but he was giving me a standing ovation. It made me feel real good."

In addition to the positive feedback from the nearby supporter, Vannasdale felt good about the quality of her performance.

"You were in a room maybe half the size of Macon County's gymnasium (at the high school)," Vannasdale said. "You have to walk right up in the center. That's where you have to do your song or your act. When everybody got up there, you were straining to hear them. I tell everybody that I don't need a microphone (due to having a strong voice).

"I felt good about it. Everything seemed to fall in place right there at the last minute."

Vannasdale was actually contacted after the audition.

"I did get a text message on my way home that they did make a short video," Vannasdale said. "I'm assuming it's going to air when the show comes out in April of 2019. Out of 60 auditions, I was one of them who is on this clip. I'm assuming they will show it when the show airs, but I don't know."

However, she doesn't expect to know whether she advanced or not until February.

"'America's Got Talent' is on tour across the United States right now, going to other big cities and taking auditions," Vannasdale said. "They will wrap up the third week in January. They will be notifying everybody by e-mail or telephone sometime around the first week of February.

"If you make it, you don't have to worry about the transportation or the music. They will make sure you have everything you need to go on stage in front of the judges and in front of America. Once that starts, there will be between 30 and 50 who will make the first round. On the first or second night that it airs, they'll start weeding them out."

Despite that time frame, Vannasdale hasn't been able to control her emotions in hopes of receiving word regarding her status earlier than the expected time frame.

"I'm very anxious," Vannasdale said. "I actually check my e-mail every day, several times a day, even before I go to bed. So far, I've not seen it. Since they said it will be the first two weeks of February, that's probably when it will be.

"I'm nervous … excited. It's kind of hard to sleep. You hear the phone ring, and you think, 'Who is it? Oh, it's just family.'"

In addition to her sister, Vannasdale's daughters - Danielle Bush and Heather Reid - and her grandson - Kamden Reid - accompanied her to Knoxville.

"The words alone can't do it justice," Vannasdale said. "It was so amazing … exciting. I had my own make-up artist. I've never had that before. The news people were walking around talking to anybody and everybody. Everybody was really friendly. Everybody that was there to audition was like me, nervous as a cat on a tin roof. It really was … it was amazing. It was like a big party.

"Being backstage at the (Grand Ole) Opry as a child was a blessing, but getting to meet and see so many different people … just to hear them sing or tell their story … I don't know even know how to describe it. It was a blessing. It was an amazing journey. Thank God I was there and didn't miss it."