Don’t be surprised if NC talent shines on 13th season of ‘American Idol’
PASADENA, Calif. — “American Idol” starts its 13th season tonight, with a new batch of singers trying to prove themselves in front of a national audience.
North Carolina has been well represented on the Fox reality competition show, with finalists including Fantasia Barrino, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington and Anoop Desai.
Keith Urban, one of the show’s judges, said that the South tends to be well-represented “because all the great music comes from there. It does. I mean, jazz, country, rock ’n’ roll, it’s all sort of a Southern thing — gospel, that’s the roots of it all. … There’s a long, long generational history of great music and musicians.”
Trish Kinane, one of the show’s executive producers, said, “We always get good (singers) in the South, always. It’s inevitable. … The South always delivers.”
Like Urban, she cited the region’s “musical history, heritage, church singers, all of that” as a reason that so many “Idol” finalists have come from the area.
And there’s a chance we will see more North Carolinians this season, as well. In addition to the prospective “Idol” contestants who traveled to major audition cities from all over the country, Winston-Salem was the site of a tour bus visit last year.
The stop was held at Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in August and gave hundreds of hopefuls a chance to audition for producers. People who were selected from that group got to move on to a later audition in front of the show’s celebrity judges, Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.
More than 850 people auditioned at the Dixie Classic stop, all vying for a “golden ticket” that would allow them to advance to a later audition.
An exact number of how many received golden tickets was not available, but the first to make it through was Tiquila Wilson, a Food Lion cashier from Winston-Salem.
The idea to expand the playing field even further than the major audition cities started last year, Kinane said, when the show wanted to go “to the parts of America where people can’t turn out for auditions in the big cities, and we did more of that. So we took our talent search out.”
Representatives of the show could not say how many hopefuls from the Winston-Salem auditions will make it to later rounds, or how many may be shown on-screen during the “Idol” audition episodes that begin tonight.
But there’s reason to hope our state may have some local talent on display nationally soon.
“Quite a lot of the people who’ve made it through to Hollywood Week came from the bus tour, actually,” Kinane said.