Bexley News

'American Idol' bus stop

Vocalists eager for spots show up at Capital

Search team spends day at university in hopes of finding new season's star contestants

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Columbus resident Alexandria Mayhew sings while a Capital University student videotapes her performance for "American Idol" producers.

Aspiring pop stars converged on Capital University's campus Saturday, July 12, to audition for a chance to appear on American Idol.

The Capital event was part of a nationwide search in which producers from the Fox television network's talent contest scour the country by bus, looking for the "next big thing."

Fans who were hoping to sing for celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. or meet host Ryan Seacrest may have been disappointed. The Capital stop was considered a pre-audition in which those selected will move on to cities such as Nashville, where auditions will be videotaped to air as part of the show's 14th season, which begins in January.

Capital estimates 2,000 people showed up for the audition, including at least 20 Capital students, said university spokeswoman Nichole Johnson.

"It is exciting. We're used to having a lot of talent on campus, but there are thousands and thousands of really talented people here and we love that," Johnson said. "There's an energy that comes with hosting these kinds of events and it's just fun to watch and to be part of."

Delaware resident Emily Slider, 22, who just graduated from Capital with a bachelor's degree in vocal performance, sang Duffy's Warwick Avenue during her audition. Although she didn't get a pass to move on to the next city, she said the audition experience was valuable.

"I was bummed because I didn't get a golden ticket," she said, "but I came out and I tried."

Columbus resident Alexandria Mayhew, 20, performed Evanescence's Bring Me to Life for her audition. Rather than being intimidated by all the competition, Mayhew said she enjoyed the creative energy in the air.

"I thought it was really cool to listen to all the other people sing around you, because you hear other songs; you hear songs you know, you hear people do songs better than you do it," said Mayhew, who received a pass to move on to the next audition city. "It's all the different voices."

An added benefit to the American Idol audition was that producers hired Capital students who are majoring in subjects such as electronic media and film to run the cameras that videotaped the auditions.

"They hired a number of our students for the day to be production assistants and they really get to see how an event of this scale is done," Johnson said. "They're shooting the footage that will end up somewhere on national television."