My Reality TV experience — brought me back to reality.

I really felt that my life was about to go in a different direction.

I had never sung with a microphone before and it was such a strange sensation. I almost felt like I could stop singing and, that voice I could hear would carry on without me — it almost felt like it wasn’t mine. It was great to sing with a band though, and I really felt that my life was about to go in a different direction.

Then one day I had this crazy idea.

A year or so earlier I had heard Amy Wineshouse singing Valerie on the radio. I checked out her music online and was really impressed! I could not believe how young she was! I had expected somebody much older. Her melancholic expression and her depth were kind of haunting — it resonated with me.

The hand made red dress

I passed the first audition no problem

After doing quite a few gigs, I saw an add on TV for a reality show. A few of my friends had told me I should enter. So I did.

I had a dream

Then, on the night before I was due to go to the next phase — filmed in the theater, they asked me to bring a long coat as they thought it might be fun to gain an element of surprise — go on as myself first and then leave the stage for a few minutes and come back as Amy.
I wasn’t sure that was going to be fun though or if it would even work, as the wig needed a bit of trickery! Also, how could I go on as myself? The whole idea of the tribute was to hide behind Amy.

The organisers taped the doors of the theatre closed so that nobody could leave or enter while they were filming

Some of the things that go on behind the scenes in these Reality Shows is quite shocking. They had tried to get me to bring my family along to cheer me on, but I didn’t have enough money for the train tickets so I went with a friend instead. When I entered the theatre for this phase, I had to sign a contract. In short, the contract stated that the organisers could do anything they wanted. We could not reveal anything that went on ‘behind the scenes’, either. If we ended up appearing on the show would have to support all costs, until the final and any gigs we did as a result of the show would be unpaid.
Kinda sucks!

The organisers wrapped police tape around the handles of the theatre doors, to keep the spectators in. I asked them if that was even legal — what if there was a fire? They said it was necessary, otherwise people would keep getting up all the time to go to the loo and it would disrupt the filming. They didn’t seem too concerned about it.

I wasn’t even nervous

At 3pm I finally got called to the dressing room. I had about an hour to prepare. That was plenty of time. I could transform in 20 minutes if I had to.

This photo is from the last gig I did — in 2019

It is almost like they rehearsed this!

I told him it was a surprise and that I would be right back in just a few seconds.

So what did I learn from all this?

My problem here was that I hadn’t been prepared to fail, I had been focussing so much on not failing that I never had a back up plan.
Visualistions don’t work — and you have to always be prepared to fail and if you do — you have to get back up again — like a diva!



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Amanda Gleaves

Amanda Gleaves


Artist, Portuguese teacher, Singer / Songwriter, Writer and Philosopher…kinda…