Hundreds braved the cold San Francisco summer weather this morning for a chance to become a star on Season 13 of the TV singing competition “American Idol.”
Some were huddled in blankets, many clutched coffee cups, and others strummed guitars as they waited in line at Willie Mays Plaza in front of AT&T Park this morning.
A camera panned the crowd, shooting multiple takes of cheers and screams when the show’s host Ryan Seacrest yelled into a microphone from a raised platform, “Bay Area, are you ready?” and “Who’s ready to change their lives today?”
Around 8:15 a.m., 19-year-old Christian Keyes was getting revved up, while his 25-year-old sister stood quietly beside him bundled in a comforter.
The pair had been at the plaza since 6 a.m. after returning from the first day of the audition process Monday, which involved registration.
Keyes, a Richmond resident, who studied vocal music at the Oakland School for the Arts, said his sister was there to support him.
He tried out for the show in 2008, and since then he said he’s had a lot more training. With an R&B background, he hopes to wow the judges.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Keyes said.
Shivering in shorts and a tank top, 19-year-old Lindsey Pike was hoping to “turn my nervous energy into positive energy” after deciding on a whim to drive to the tryouts from Humboldt.
With her 21-year-old friend, Chelsey Castiglioni, covered in goosebumps beside her, Pike said she was ready to show off her country singing skills—even if she usually gets embarrassed singing in front of her mom.
Rachael Garneau, 20, came up from Los Angeles for a chance to perform in front of a national audience.
Staying with her aunt, Debbi Lerman, in the city’s Richmond District, Garneau woke up at 3 a.m. for today’s auditions and was trying to stay warm and protect her voice.
“I felt like now was the time,” she said. Garneau planned to sing either a pop song or a number from a musical.
She said her aunt is her biggest supporter.
“She’s going to be a star,” Lerman said, still positive despite an aching back from waiting in line for so long.
The latest installment of the series is slated to premiere at the beginning of 2014.
The show dates back to 2002, and over the years has featured celebrity judges but has yet to announce who will be part of next season’s cast. Three of the four judges—Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson, and Nicki Minaj—are leaving before the upcoming season.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News