Sometimes a phone call is just a phone call, and sometimes it's a producer from NBC wondering if you'd like to audition for a popular television talent show.
South City darling, Cherokee Street mainstay and host of the best open mic in the city Ellen the Felon (Ellen Cook) received a phone call Wednesday from America's Got Talent producer Nigel Carro. The show is holding auditions Saturday and Sunday at the America's Center Convention Complex where a host of would be singers, jugglers, comedians and other assorted oddballs will vie for their chance to appear on television.
Cook doesn't have to wait in line.
"(He) told me that he watched the lo-fi session I did with Bill Streeter," she says. "He said he watched that and said, 'You're gorgeous, you're talented, you're really unique. You're Lady Gaga-esque.' I thought, 'Wow, you're seeking me out? That's insane.' I'm just going to have a direct audition. I don't have to wait in line or anything."
For the uninitiated, Cook is a soulful and talented singer/self-taught piano player who has played her entire life, but professionally for the past four years.
There's no guarantee that Cook will appear on the show, but she admits she was taken aback when she received a cold call from the show's producer without showing any interest in auditioning for the show. As for concerns that trying out for a mainstream television show my affect her street-cred, Cook isn't worried.
"I don't think anyone's going to care," she says. "If you win this thing you get signed to a record label and they give you a bunch of money for studio time, so, fuck yeah I'm going to do it. Now if they tell me I have to wear rubber shorts or sing to a backbeat or something, then maybe not. I'm just curious to see what it's like."
Cook wouldn't be the first St. Louisan to gets some screen time on the show, if she gets that far. Maybe you remember the exploits of a certain Clownvis...