What began with more than 400 women from all over the world at Cowboys Stadium for the DCC preliminary and semifinal auditions culminated in the Finals Auditions on May 19 at the home of America's Team. It would be a day of dreams come true for some and heartache for others.
Seventy-nine ladies, including 25 who returned from last year's squad and were exempt from the first two rounds of auditions, began the day inside the AT&T Star Club on the South concourse of the stadium. The finals started with an individual talent presentation that could include singing, dancing or even dramatic interpretation. It seemed like a hybrid of America's Got Talent and a Broadway production. The ladies danced to musical choices ranging in diversity from the B 52's Love Shack, to Prince's Kiss, Single Ladies by Beyonce and multiple Michael Jackson songs to If My Friends Could See Me Now from Sweet Charity and God Bless America.
Following a short break to change into Cowboys audition attire, the contestants reconvened on the field to perform the dance routine they learned at call-backs and the legendary DCC kickline in groups of five. The judges were seated in the stands directly under the owner's suite for a fan's perspective as well as the perfect view of the 160-ft wide and 72-ft high HD video board.
When the clock struck 3:30 p.m., the judges began deliberations while the ladies hung out inside the stadium. The results were expected around 6 p.m., and with every passing minute, the anxiety in the room grew.
"It is actually more relaxing after last year because you are in good company with all of your friends that you have grown close with on the team and you have a support system," said Brittney Schram, who returns following her rookie season. "They are like my family and you almost get territorial for them. We really do have each others' backs."
The wait continued longer than expected. As the end of the exhausting journey grew near, many of the ladies seized the opportunity to relax and take a nap; others paced around the concourse, pausing only to glance at their phones.
Melissa Kellerman has been a Cowboys cheerleader for four seasons, meaning not only did she perform at Texas Stadium prior to the team's move to Arlington, she is a veteran of the auditions rollercoaster ride. She says her most special experience as a Cowboys cheerleaders, which includes Super Bowl XLV and the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, involved the USO tours. "For me it is extremely special," Kellerman said. "My dad was in the Marine Corps and he was deployed when I was little and a few of the bases we visited this winter were ones he was stationed at in Japan and South Korea."
The anxious ladies were back in their seats just after 7:15 p.m. for the big announcement. The CMT cameras filming for the seventh season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, were in place as DCC Director Kelli Finglass returned along with Judy Trammell and Charlotte Jones-Anderson.
"This has been the most highly debated group I have been a part of," Finglass said. "When we call out these numbers, some of your lives will be changed forever."
Forty-five women were selected to move on to DCC Training Camp, with six returning veterans not making the cut. When the final number was called, tears of joy collided with the overwhelming sadness that several members of the tight-knit group were saying goodbye. For those who make it through the training camp, they will perform in front of 100,000 fans at the greatest sports venue in the world.
The ladies who have advanced are Melissa Kellerman, Brittney Schram, Whitney Isleib, Sydney Durso, Meagan McVay, Cassie Trammell, Mia Greenhouse, Jackie Bob, Nicole Bulcher, Lauren Williams, Mackenzie Lee, Courtney Cook, Alexandra Caroline, Veronica Ann, Katie Marie, Emma Mary, Colleen Meghan, Amelia Bren, Holly Arielle, Angela Rene, Jessica Marie, Carisa Rose, Chelsea Elizabeth, Kelsey Lauren, Alex Hermes, Kinzie Ryanne, Jacie Veronica, Rachel Le-Ann, Jennifer Alexis, Emily Claire, Kim Nicole, Jordan Elizabeth, Olivia Rene, Sintia Jimmy, Megan Marie, Teri Lynn, Danielle Marie, Jasmine Raphella, Kelly Jeannelle, Kali Nicole, Jenna Lene, Ashley Marie, Colin Julia, Carla Ann and Amy Caroline.
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