By Deanna C. White
DeSanto, among thousands of others, decided to test his singing skills in Oxygen's The Glee Project competition. Participants selected from the audition process won a spot on the competition series, with the ultimate prize being a guest appearance on Glee, one of the hottest shows on TV. Auditions ended November 13, 2011.
"I've always had such a passion for creativity and singing, but I've never allowed myself to go out there and try it," DeSanto said. "When this competition came up, I thought it would be the perfect first step toward achieving my dream."
Despite the fact DeSanto had never auditioned before – in fact, the only public singing he had ever done had been the occasional karaoke night with his friends – DeSanto decided to audition. "My first live audition in my life was in front of two producers," DeSanto said. "Once I decided to do this, I went right for the big time."
His song of choice? The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga.
Although DeSanto didn't win a guest appearance on Glee, he says the experience of entering into a world he's always dreamed about, and pushing himself beyond his comfort zone, was invaluable.
"Of course I would have liked to have been selected, but at the same time, this was my first audition," DeSanto said. "I saw some really amazing singers get turned away, who had a lot more riding on the competition than me. I've gained so much more respect for people who do this for a living."
DeSanto said his main objective was simply to deliver his best possible performance. "I was nervous, but I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I choked . . . if I went through all this and didn't do the best I could," DeSanto said. "I'm happy because I felt I did a good job."
But the most rewarding part of the audition process, he said, was the overwhelming support he received from his friends, family, coworkers, and the Ernst & Young community.
"A lot of people were surprised to learn I liked to sing, and I got a lot of great feedback from them," DeSanto said. "I guess you always wonder if the compliments are true, but when I saw the e-mails people were forwarding about my online audition, I saw that people were responding really positively. It was encouraging. It really pumps you up."
Ever gracious, DeSanto said he feels more disappointed for letting down the people who supported him than he does for not winning a callback, but ultimately, he's just proud he overcame his fears and went for it.
And while he's quick to point out he has no desire to leave his current gig in public accounting for a professional singing career, he vows this won't be his last audition.
"This is not to say that I don't love being a CPA, but I do believe 100 percent that if you have a second passion, you have to pursue it – otherwise, you'll always regret not doing it," said DeSanto.