Amazing Race casting call coming to West Branch

Local resident trying to get on her favorite show


WEST BRANCH — Local aspiring reality television stars won’t have far to go to try to get on the Amazing Race this year, as a casting call for the hit reality show will be held in West Branch this March.

TV 9&10 news will be holding an open casting call at Tanger Outlet Center on March 16, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Among those in line to audition for the show will be Tanger Outlet Center General Manager Vicki Seltz Barnes, who happens to be a big fan of the show.

“I’ve watched it since the first (season),” Seltz Barnes said.

This will be Seltz Barnes’ third time auditioning for the show. She auditioned once by videotape, and last year attended a casting call in Houghton Lake.

“We got there at 4 a.m.,” she said. “When we first heard about it, it was the only (casting call) in Michigan. But three days before that, one opened up in Detroit.”

Seltz Barnes said when she got to the casting call, there was only one other team there — a mother- and daughter-in-law, one of which was from Northern Michigan, the other who traveled all the way from Kentucky.

Seltz Barnes said that part of the appeal for her to be on the Amazing Race is the fact that she’d like to travel around the world safely.

“I like to travel, but I’m concerned with safety,” she said. “Traveling with the Amazing Race would be safe. You have camera people with you all the time. I could go to places that I wouldn’t travel on my own. I feel it’s a safe adventure. How else could you travel around the world?”

But she added that she would have some concerns if she did make it on the show.

“I’m concerned about having to eat cow lips,” she said, citing a recent challenge on the show. “But I’m not nervous about heights or anything like that.”

Seltz Barnes said she had planned to audition with the same partner that she had for the first two auditions, but she found out she had to pick someone different. She chose a friend from Traverse City, but she hasn’t known her that long.

“We met just a couple years ago,” Seltz Barnes said. “I’ve known her from the last couple years. She’s a mother; I’m not. We’re very different.”

“She doesn’t like heights, I know that,” Seltz Barnes added.

She said she hopes that her team will catch the eyes of producers, as they are playing the “professional women over 50” angle. Seltz Barnes said there has never been a team of 50-plus professional women on the show before.

She added that she had tried to get her husband to audition with her, but he said no.

“He said we’d kill each other,” Seltz Barnes said.

She did offer some insight for others who may be auditioning for the first time. She said the layout of the auditions doesn’t give much room for a performance.

“When we auditioned (in Houghton Lake), we didn’t have room to use our props,” she said. “We thought we could run up and jump around. But it’s just sitting. So we had to do a little impromptu.”

Seltz Barnes said the “set” consists of a curtain, two stools, and a couple of cameramen. People auditioning have to sit the entire time.

“You’re not by yourself in there,” she said, adding that in addition to the cameramen, sometimes participants can see what the other teams are doing as well. “The cameramen are really nice though.”

According to Seltz Barnes, those auditioning by tape have three minutes to show producers that they are the ones for the show. But in the open casting calls, teams only get two minutes.

“It’s two minutes, then you’re out,” she said.

As of right now, Seltz Barnes said her and her partner are only in the beginning stages of planning their routine.

“We’ll be older ladies, knitting and talking about the past,” she said. “Then we’ll rip off our wigs and open our shirts and we’ll have on Amazing Race T-shirts underneath.”

Seltz Barnes said she welcomes everyone try out for the show.

“Anybody can come out and do it,” she said. “It’s a great experience. I liked meeting the people in Houghton Lake. There are people from all over that come out.”

The casting call is open to any team of two U.S. residents, 21 years of age or older.


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