The first round of 2015 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders auditions took place Saturday, May 2nd at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Of the 300+ hopefuls for this year’s squad, only 132 survived Prelims and were invited to the Round 2 Semifinals.

This was my 14th season to judge auditions, and I have learned that all of these America’s Sweetheart potentials have two things in common: they are talented AND brave!

It takes self-confidence to audition. Contenders begin this process in front of hundreds of other contestants and judges.  And there will be millions watching this fall when the CMT show, “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Squad” airs.

Round 1 Recap, Part 2:

Among the 300+ hopefuls, I saw 62 familiar faces. Some of the contenders had auditioned in previous years but did not make the squad; they were returning for a second (and, in some cases, third and fourth) shot at their dream team. These “returning hopefuls” do not include the current DCC veterans.  Yes, current DCC cheerleaders must re-audition, but they skip Rounds 1 & 2 and advance automatically to Round 3.

I am impressed with the quality of young women who show up for auditions each year. Most have extensive backgrounds with dance/cheerleading/drill teams, but they are more than just entertainers. To share with you the cross-section of raw talent that I see annually from these highly educated, highly-skilled women, here are some additional facts that will both surprise and impress you!

FUN FACTS about R1:

* Melissa Rycroft Strickland, a former DCC member (2006-2007) who is better known from ‘The Bachelor’ and as a winner of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, served as a judge. This is her second consecutive year to judge.

* One of the contenders is from nearby Little Elm, the same hometown as Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley and used to be his babysitter.

* Most unforgettable moment of R1 - One girl sang a song which named all 44 U.S. Presidents, in order, to the tune of the theme song from Gilligan’s Island. It was pretty funny and helped break the monotony of the day. (Actually, I want to learn that song too!)

* One contestant enjoyed her first airplane experience (from Chicago to DFW) to take part in auditions. 

* Here’s a small sampling of jobs/careers which contestants mentioned during their self-introductions:    pharmaceutical sales rep, car assembly plant worker from Illinois, digital marketing manager from Georgia, online marketing manager from Chicago, student ministry administrator from Las Vegas, floral designer, high school math teacher, preschool teacher, Tarrant County Mental Health Clinic worker, commercial real estate agent, graphic designer, lawyer, nanny, dental recruiter, autism center, makeup instructor at a modeling school, environmental consultant, applications support analyst from New York City, culinary school student, radiology tech school student, pet hospital worker, sales representative, hairstylist, dance instructor.

Saturday was the first step. Now it’s going to get even tougher for those contestants because they’ll only have a couple of hours to learn a dance routine. They must also perform the world famous DCC kick line. I look forward to sharing stories of what happened in Round 2 with a posting later this week. And, of course, we’ll have a wrap-up following the Final Round which is next weekend (May 9, 2015).