It’s the last season of American Idol. Will the last Kelly Clarkson please stand up?
The typical sounds of North Broad Street were a tad different Sunday when pretty much everyone in the area who thinks they’re a good singer took the liberty of doing so on the steps of Temple University’s Liacouras Center. Some of the a cappella tunes were rousing renditions. Others, not so much.
And there was crying on the sidewalks of Broad Street. A lot of it.
Hundreds of people showed up this weekend in Philly to try out for the final season of American Idol, the Fox show that’s getting canceled this year after 15 seasons of bringing us a few great musicians, a lot of really insane people and more judging drama than can possibly be recounted.
Once the most popular show on TV in America, Idol had garnered more than 20 million viewers per season from 2003 to 2011 and produced stars like Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Those ratings have plunged in recent years, and Idol isn’t even the top show on Fox anymore. But the idea that it’s the last season still brought out to Philly those who wanted to audition (and also, apparently, one-time Idol winner and wannabe congressman Clay Aiken).
I caught up with a few people outside the Liacouras Center while they were waiting to audition for the show. Here’s how they sounded:
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
What brought him to tryouts: Having never tried out before, Quinn said he made the trip to Philly to try out for American Idol because it’s in it’s last season: “That makes me more inspired to give it my all.”
Audition song: “Cheerleader,” by OMI
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
What brought her to tryouts: Brooklyn-native Lazzaro is basically an American Idol veteran. Having tried out seven times and never making it past the second round, she was back again this year to continue chasing her dreams and seek Idol fandom for the last time.
“It’s my dream and it’s my passion and I just hope they can see that,” she said.
Audition song: “One and Only,” by Adele and “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” by Blu Cantrell
Hometown: Woodbury, Connecticut
What brought him to tryouts: Beauple and his friend Chris Kyle, 26, were at a party in Connecticut Saturday night, and around midnight decided they would get in the car and drive three and a half hours to Philadelphia so they could both audition for American Idol. Neither had ever tried out before, but Beauple said it was “just kind of something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.”
Audition song: An original (see below)
What brought her to tryouts: McGlone, who’s never tried out for Idol before, was convinced by her boyfriend to take the plunge and come to the open audition calls at the Liacouras Center. But the biggest reason? “I just had a son seven months ago. I wanna do it for him.”
Audition song: “Hold Back the River,” by James Bay
Hometown: Edison, New Jersey
What brought her to tryouts: By 11 a.m. Sunday, Pepitone had already auditioned and hadn’t made it through to the next round of Idol auditions. The jazzy pop singer who had once made it to the third round of The X Factor said no one in the four-person group she auditioned with made it and characterized the producer who judged them as “bored.”
Audition song: “You Were Meant For Me,” by Jewel
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
What brought him to tryouts: This ukelele-playing teen from Maryland said after his audition that he didn’t make it through, and despite this upcoming season being the last of Idol, he’s going to keep chasing his dreams.
Audition song: “Chandelier,” by Sia
Age: 15, “but will be 16 in September”
Hometown: Elizabeth, New Jersey
What brought her to tryouts: This 15-year-old bilingual singer was waiting for her turn Sunday morning while warming up outside the Liacouras Center with her mother. The New Jersey-native made it through several rounds of the Spanish version of The X Factor, but was cut during the round of auditions in Miami. This weekend, she wanted to try for Idol, if only because she knew it was the last season.
“I’m nervous,” she said, “but I’ve just always loved to sing.”
Audition song: “The Climb,” by Miley Cyrus