WASHINGTON - It's a job that doesn't pay, and employees aren't allowed to ask for tips.
But a long line of artists showed up Tuesday evening at Metro headquarters near Verizon Center for a chance to show off their talents this summer outside Metro stations.
Metro held auditions for its annual MetroPerforms! program.
Metro is looking for entertainers to perform at selected station entrances during lunchtime and late afternoon hours from now through November, as well as in the Lunchtime Music on the Mall program running through September.
Among those trying out before a panel of five judges: Three girls who dance and rap; an all-female rock and soul group; a group of mesmerizing freestyle dancers; a young woman who sang an a cappella version of an Amy Winehouse song; and a man who played guitar and sang songs by Maroon 5 and John Denver.
Until recently, artists were paid to perform outside Metro stations.
"The funding originally came from the jurisdictional arts councils, and unfortunately over the years the funding is less available, if you will," said Michael McBride, Metro's Art in Transit program director.
He says despite the change, people are eager for the chance to perform free.
"Many of the musicians in the area are very interested in performing at Metro stations simply because it has such a high volume of people coming and going."
Performers chosen for the programs will be notified within a few days.
There were some electric moments outside the audition room where people waiting to tryout lined up with their musical instruments, amplifiers and costumes.
A tuba player and a Michael Jackson impersonator did an impromptu jam that had others singing along and pulling out their smartphones to capture the moment.
WTOP's Michelle Basch captures some of the performances:
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