The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

July 16, 2012

Anything but "Idol"

By AMBER POMPA
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — Familiar with the term “No guts, no glory?” Britnie Rosenbalm is.

In fact, she did what many don’t have the courage to do. She followed her dream to San Antonio to audition for this upcoming season of “American Idol.”

Twenty-five-year-old Rosenbalm made her stage debut July 4, 1989, at the age of 2 and the rest, as they say, is history.

“My mom was performing at some talent show during a festival and she pulled me up on stage with her,” said Rosenbalm. “We sang ‘Five Minutes.’”

Singing is something that came naturally to Rosenbalm and a talent she no doubt inherited from her mother.

“It something I really enjoy doing,” she said. “I like being up in front of people and feeling that little bit of nervousness and excitement.”

Rosenbalm and her mom, Renee Francey, are fairly well-known in the Hunt County area and are often asked to sing at a variety of functions and venues, including the Blue Armadillo and Landon Wineries.

Their first official performance together came about during a gig at the Blue Armadillo Winery. Burning Embers, featuring Francey and her friend Nathan Kimler, had a gig that night, but Kimler was unable to attend the event. Instead of canceling, Francey asked if Rosenbalm could fill in and the rest is history.“We got such a great response that we just kept on doing it,” said Rosenbalm. “That was about a year ago and now we have business cards and quite a following of faithful fans and friends.”

From singing in her home town to trying out for “American Idol” may seem like quite the leap, but Rosenbalm received such encouragement from her friends and relatives that she decided she had to at least give it a go.

“I’m not really much on the reality shows,” said Rosenbalm. “I’ve watched some “American Idol” and if I’ve seen singers I really like I try to watch it to see how far they go, but my husband is not a big fan and since we only have one television hooked up with cable, I rarely get the chance to watch it unless it’s already on and he comes home and I’m like, ‘Oops, I was here first.’ That rarely happens, though.”

Even though her husband, Chris, was far from a fan of “American Idol,” he encouraged Rosenbalm to audition for the show. Rosenbalm had her doubts, though.

“It didn’t seem to be my thing,” she said. “I enjoy being a big fish in a little pond here in Greenville. I don’t want to be the little fish in the big pond in L.A..”

The Monday before auditions began in San Antonio the pair were watching the news and it came on the news.

“Chris looked at me and said, ‘You’re going,’” said Rosenbalm. “So I went.”

The next night Rosenbalm headed to San Antonio with a tank full of gas and a head full of dreams.

She registered the next morning at the Alamodome and auditions were the following day.

“By the time I got there, about five or six in the morning, the place was packed,” she said of the experience. “Parking was crazy and the people, oh my. It was just as you see on TV. People with pink and orange hair, insanely crazy costumes and waving bejeweled banners. It was all about sticking out and getting notice.”

Rosenbalm felt a little out of place in her blue jeans, tank top and boots, but to her, it was all about the music.

“The people waiting around to audition were jamming in the halls with their guitars, ukuleles and harps,” said Rosenbalm. “It was something to see, for sure. Everyone was all about them, being there, being seen and being heard. I’d never done anything like that before and it was a really neat experience, seeing how it all worked.”

There were something like three auditions that each singer had to get through in order to sing in front of Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.

“Sadly, it was not so much about the music as it was about sticking out, getting noticed and your ‘sob’ story,” said Rosenbalm. “I gave it my all and rocked it, but didn’t get picked for a second audition. I guess I wasn’t what they were looking for this season.”

Rosenbalm was a little bummed about not making it further through the audition process, but the support she received from her family and friends helped bolster her spirits to get her through that long ride back.

“I would do it again in a second, though,” she said. “Not many people can say they’ve auditioned for “American Idol,” but I can say with full confidence that I’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”