By Starrla Cray
DELANO, MN Most people who see American Idol on TV simply sit back and enjoy the entertainment, but talented singers like Delano High School students Amanda Goedeke and Nick Meyerson take the show one step further.
Goedeke, a soon-to-be sophomore, and Meyerson, an incoming junior, were among the roughly 10,000 contestants to recently audition in Milwaukee, WI, for the 10th season of the top-rated reality series.
“I heard so many great people,” Meyerson said. “I hope to see some of them on TV.”
Meyerson drove to Milwaukee the night before auditions with his mother, Faith, and Ellie Flugum, a friend from St. Michael who sings in the youth choir with him at Delano Assembly of God Church.
“She’s amazing,” Meyerson said of Flugum. “She can play so many musical instruments.”
No local people advanced to the next round of the American Idol competition, but according to Meyerson, auditioning was still a worthwhile experience.
“You wouldn’t trade it,” he said. “If it were closer, like in Minneapolis, I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
The people who made the cut weren’t necessarily those with the best voices, according to Goedeke.
“They don’t pick people based on talent you have to have what they’re looking for,” she said. “All of the interesting people made it through.”
And by “interesting,” Goedeke was referring to those who stood out and made people take notice.
“There was a guy in a silver sequined suit and a giant toothbrush,” Goedeke said. “He was singing into the toothbrush. They pretty much automatically put him through.”
One girl who made it was wearing a giant Strawberry Shortcake skirt, she added.
“There are always the goofballs,” Meyerson added. “One guy had to be carried out by security. He was a very flamboyant man and was just acting ridiculous.”
Meyerson said there were several amazing singers near him who didn’t advance to the next round.
“At first, I thought, ‘There’s no way these guys can’t get it,’” he said. “You get to hear basically all the auditions. You think, ‘why can’t all this talent go through?’”
Judging was done in the Bradley Center, with 12 booths in the center of the stadium. Two judges sat at each table, and contestants were called up according to number, four at a time.
“It’s not like they show it on TV at all,” Goedeke added. “You get a wristband and a ticket that shows your seat number.”
“You have your 30 seconds to sing and then you’re done,” Faith added.
Goedeke said she was first in her group of four to sing.
“When I got up there, the crowd started cheering really loudly for someone else, and it threw me off,” she said. The judges let her start over, but she couldn’t quite get the timing perfect, since she was starting mid-song.
“You’re supposed to pick a part of the song that shows off your voice,” she explained.
The song she picked was “I Don’t Love You” by My Chemical Romance.
“I know it really well,” she said. “I’ve sung it for a lot of different things.”
Meyerson, who enjoys R & B, soul, and gospel music, sang a portion of “At Your Best” by Aaliyah. His audition went well, but he said he was definitely fatigued by the time it was his turn to sing.
“I waited a total of 13 hours,” he said. He registered for tryouts at 4 a.m., and started waiting in line at 5 a.m.
“There were some waiting games, but they tried to make it fun,” Faith said. “If you were bold enough to step out and start singing, they would film you and interview you.”
“Every judge has something they’re looking for,” Meyerson said, adding that finding people who would be fun to see on TV is one focus.
Goedeke said that if she were to try out again, the only thing she would change is possibly choosing a different song.
“You have to be yourself,” she said.
In the future, Goedeke said she might try out for another show, like “America’s Got Talent.”
Music is a big part of life for Meyerson
Meyerson said he wasn’t upset at all that he didn’t advance to the next round.
“It didn’t bother me,” he said, adding that since he is only 16, he has plenty of time to grow musically.
“He was born to sing,” Faith said. “I think his career will be in music someday.”
Meyerson’s post-graduation plans include going to college to double major in business and music.
“A lot of kids say that music is their life, but for me, it is. I love it,” Meyerson said. “If I can have it in my life somehow, I’ll be happy.”
Meyerson estimates that he spends about 20 hours a week practicing music in some way.
“In my spare time, I’m singing in my house, singing in my car I don’t really notice that I’m doing it,” he said.
Meyerson’s vocal passion was evident even as a young child.
“My mom has videos of me dancing around and singing to commercials,” he said. “I think I was just born with it.”
Meyerson’s dream job would be recording his own CDs and singing onstage.
“I love performing,” said Meyerson, who is actively involved in DHS’s theatre program. “It’s very raw; it’s very emotional.”
Goedeke loves to sing
Goedeke has a similarly intense interest in music.
“I’ve been singing since I was, like, 5,” she said. “I’ve just grown to like it more and more each year.”
Goedeke said it would be “awesome” if she could make a career out of singing someday.
“If I can’t become a singer, I’d want to be a writer,” she added. Goedeke has written a few of her own songs, but admits that writing music is difficult.
“It makes you appreciate the musicians to come up with these amazing songs,” she said.
Goedeke’s future plans include going to college to become a music teacher. She’s currently taking voice and piano lessons, and also plans to be in choir this fall.
In her spare time, Goedeke practices with Ann Kliszcz, a friend from Loretto who will also be a sophomore at DHS.
“She plays the piano,” Goedeke said. “We did the high school talent show last year. Right now, we’re trying to find songs we can do really well.”
Goedeke said she has wanted to try out for American Idol ever since the show started.
“They lowered the age limit this year,” she said. For the first three seasons, the eligible age range was 16 to 24. Then, the upper age was extended to 28. For the 10th season, which will air in January 2011, 15-year-olds were also allowed to try out.
Meyerson said he would definitely recommend that other singers try out for American Idol.
“If you have a passion for music at all, it’s an opportunity to get out and increase your comfort level,” he said. “Keep going and don’t give up.”
To learn more about American Idol, go to www.americanidol.com.