BY SHEENA BARNETT
OXFORD – Hundreds of hopefuls said they were the next “American Idol” on Monday morning, but not all of them made it to the next round.
The hit FOX singing competition just wrapped main auditions for its 13th season across the nation, and the show has expanded the auditions to include a bus tour through the South. It began in Little Rock, Ark., stopped in Oxford on Monday and will hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Knoxville, Tenn., before ending in Winston-Salem, N.C.
More than 100 hopefuls auditioned at the Oxford Conference Center on Monday, where the bus was stopped.
“I’m really nervous. I’m very anxious to get this going,” said Bradley Long, 24, of Tupelo. “I just got up, prayed and stood in line.”
Long got in line just before 6 a.m., and auditioned a few hours later, only to be turned down.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “This was on my bucket list of things I wanted to do, so it was for the experience.”
Producer Hope Wilson said the show upped its standards this year.
“We’re looking for that untapped talent, and the South has given us a lot of that,” she said. “It’s about performance, it’s about confidence, it’s about making that connection and pulling the audience in. We’re seeing a lot of people, and you have to stand out.”
It was more than an hour before a hopeful received the coveted golden ticket, which would take them to the next round of auditions. The first round in Oxford was in front of producers, and the next round will be for executive producers. The final round will be in front of the show’s judges, and so far, only country star Keith Urban has signed on to judge again.
“American Idol” does not release how many make it to the next round of auditions.
Before auditions got started, producers filmed hopefuls in front of the blue “American Idol” bus shouting “Welcome to Oxford,” “Welcome to Mississippi,” the Hotty Toddy cheer and spelling out “Mississippi.”
Colby Brumfield, 17, of Vicksburg, decided on a whim to audition and was first in line at 4 a.m.
“I’m excited and I’m a little nervous at the same time. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time,” she said.
First in line meant she was first of the auditioners out, and she didn’t make it.
Will she audition again?
“Maybe,” she said. “Maybe not.”