American Idol Orlando auditions finally aired on FOX after months of anticipation. Ten thousand hopefuls lined up for their chance to be the next American Idol. After auditions this past summer at Orlando’s Amway Arena and the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, 31 contestants made their initial dream come true with a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Kristin Chenoweth – Glee guest star and the darling of the Broadway stage – served as a guest judge on the first day of auditions, and brought a sense of fun to the high-pressured audition room as she and Kara DioGuardi kept things light-hearted. Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell comprised the rest of the Judges panel for a spirited foursome.
A mixture of wild and wacky acts — to inspiring and heart wrenching stories — kept viewers glued to their TV as the Orlando auditions unfolded on FOX, January 20, 2010.
It was exciting to see Longwood, Florida hometown girl, Janell Wheeler, a talented and beautiful singer/songwriter, as she sang “House of the Rising Sun.” While her video clip was short on tonight’s episode, I anticipate we will be seeing much more of her in the coming months. I met Janell in September when she competed in Orlando’s Got Talent at Cowboys Orlando — and won first place!
A memorable performance by 28-year-old Seth Rollins of Lakeland, Florida, tugged on my heartstrings. For him, winning American Idol would help provide the best care possible for his autistic 5-year-old son. Seth’s chance to make life better for his family got one step closer as all four judges said, “Yes” to Hollywood.
I admire 18-year-old Shelby Dressel of Avon Park, Florida, who has lived with a nerve disorder affecting one side of her face. Her insecurities did not stop her from singing an impressive rendition of “Turn Me On” by Laura Jones. The judges’ hearts were warmed by her sweetness, courage, and great potential.
For Matthew Lawrence of Starke, Florida, doors of opportunity have swung wide open. After spending four years of his life behind bars for an “adventurous mistake” involving a BB gun and a bank at age 15, Matthew is ready to embark on a new journey to make his family proud. All four judges loved his version of, “Trouble.” Simon described it as “brilliant and authentic.” Randy called Matthew “the real deal.”
Congratulations to all 31 American Idol contestants discovered in Orlando. As an Orlando-based Idol fan, having auditions in Central Florida has added a bigger element of excitement to Season 9!
To read my up-close and personal interview with current American Idol Kris Allen, click here.
For my review of the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, click here.
Share your thoughts about Season 9 in the comments section below!
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Thanks for reading,
Michele G. Hudson
Orlando Events Examiner – Top of Mind Music
Photo Credits: FOX / American Idol