What's less well known, but just as important to that story, she says, is what happened two years earlier in that same competition: She lost.
It was 2005, and Meade, then a 27-year-old music graduate student at USC, had advanced to the semifinals in New York. Out of a group of about 20, half would be chosen for the final round with big cash prizes and publicity. Meade did not make the cut.
"I was feeling sorry for myself because I thought I had sung well," she recalled in an interview at the Met last week. "On a whim, I went down to Philadelphia and auditioned