Triangle singers among thousands at 'Idol' auditions

About 9,500 singers - including Fox 50 "Triangle Idol" winner Matt Wiley, of Selma - gathered in Charleston Friday in hopes of becoming the next Scotty McCreery, the teenaged country crooner from Garner who won the most recent season of "American Idol."

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — About 9,500 singers gathered in Charleston Friday in hopes of becoming the next Scotty McCreery, the 17-year-old country crooner from Garner who won the most recent season of "American Idol."
Fox 50 "Triangle Idol" winner Matt Wiley, of Selma, earned a guaranteed audition and expense-paid trips with his version of John Legend’s "Ordinary People."

He hoped to work more magic with Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke."

"It's just a fun song," he said. "I want to kind of change the mood, because they're going to be hearing people all day, and I just want to give them a show."

Wiley didn't make the cut, but said he won't give up his dream. 

"I’m still going to keep living, and I’m still going to keep making music," Wiley said. "They can take that away from me, the 'American Idol' part, but they can’t take music. That will always be apart of me."

Many residents of North Carolina were in the line at the North Charleston Auditorium. Stephanie Sprouse drove down from Lake Lure in the North Carolina mountains to audition.

"It's a big thing. I just want to get heard, be seen," Sprouse said.

"We can represent from North Carolina, for sure. There's definitely a good bunch of singers," Caleb Courtney, of Boone, said.

Courtney did back flips, hoping to draw attention while waiting in line.

"Whatever gets me in there. And once I get in there, hopefully it's my voice that will it over," he said.

North Carolinians were proud to proclaim their connections to McCreery, whose audition with Josh Turner's "Your Man" and Travis Tritt's "Put Some Drive in Your Country" a year ago started him on the path to winning with the show.

Courtney met McCreery while working with his sister at a summer camp. Caitlyn Hunter, 19, sang in the high school chorus with McCreery.

"The first time I met him, he was singing," Hunter said. "I was like, 'This kid has got skill. He's going places with that.'"

Hunter hoped telling producers that she's a country singer from Garner would perk their ears.

"I think that will give me an edge. I think they'll expect a little bit more out of me, coming from Scotty country," she said.

"Idol" producers said they've seen more young male country singers auditioning this year in the wake of McCreery.

"Scotty has done remarkable things for our show and hopefully for teenagers across the country, not only from where he grew up," "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said. "He was this unassuming, poised, sort of shy kid who came in with an incredible voice, and from day one when you look back at the audition, he always had it." 

Seacrest added, "Hopefully, he'll be an inspiration to a lot of young people."

Producer Patrick Lynn said they are primarily looking for good singers and fun personalities.

"We're making a television show. It's no big secret. People have seen Idol before. We're looking for characters. We're looking for people who are going to be fun on the show, but primarily it's good singers," Lynn said. "Scotty McCreery is what we're looking for." 

The would-be "Idol" contestants must make it through three rounds of auditions, first with the show's producers. About 500 singers will next audition in front of the show's executive producers.

A select group will then get to go before the show's judges in late August or September. The singers will try to get a ticket to Hollywood, where the finalists for season 11 will be chosen.


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