Big Country sends three to
Idol finals in L.A.
By Brien Murphy
Reporter-News Staff Writer
Three singers with Big Country ties described
their weekend in Austin as excruciating, nerve-wracking,
and grueling enough that it made me just sick to my stomach.
And they received good news.
Singers Coffey Anderson, Solisa Shoop and
Adrian Washington will leave soon for Los Angeles after successfully
impressing American Idol judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and
The singers will join about 150 other contestants
who advanced past thousands of other would-be TV stars at auditions
in seven cities.
Youre thinking, I cant
believe Im this far. Im one song away from going to
Los Angeles or going home, said Anderson, a 23-year-old
American Idol aired last summer on Fox.
After starting with 10,000 singers and videotaping their auditions,
performances and triumphs or failures, the show gave Kelly Clarkson
of Burleson a recording contract and concert dates. Her first
single, A Moment Like This, briefly topped the Billboard magazine
Anderson, Shoop and Washington advanced
to the Los Angeles rounds after five days of waiting, hoping,
worrying, and waiting some more in less-than-ideal conditions.
I had to stand in line for
25 hours total. I was wearing high heels, Shoop said.
We had to sleep outside in line. There were 3,600 of us sleeping
outside. You wake up with feet in your face.
The auditions began Wednesday at an Austin
hotel in front of show producers. Some singers warbled only a
few notes before having their dreams dashed. Others auditioned
twice more before learning their fate.
The final 200 or so sang Sunday for Abdul,
Cowell and Jackson, who decide which singers reach the finals.
Shoop, an Abilene resident who turns 21
Friday, sang a Latin-tinged version of Donna Summers Last
Dance. She was surprised when the usually caustic Cowell convincingly
said she was what American Idol wants, while Abdul, normally nurturing
and encouraging, waffled.
I was like, Could you please
hurry up? Youre scaring me, Shoop said.
With Jackson in her corner, Shoop was in.
She remains an Abdul fan.
After it was over, I asked if I could
touch her hand, and she put both hands out and said, Of
course, youre so precious! Shoop said. I
said, Youre so precious, too!
Then Shoop promptly tripped on a rug and
tried to exit through a locked door with cameras rolling.
I have nothing to hide, she
Andersons audition with Stevie Wonders
Lately went more smoothly and more predictably, with Jackson
and Abdul voting yes, and Cowell saying, Ive heard
Anderson, who won the Abilene round of American
Idol sponsored by KXVA-TV and KHYS-FM, said the Austin auditions
wracked his nerves.
In Abilene, we were supporting everyone
and having fun, and it was about having a good show, he
said. In Austin, it was more bittersweet. We were there
six hours a day for three days, and you knew where everyone was
from and all their stories.
But you think, If you
go, I may not go.
Washington, 23, an Abilene High School graduate
who lives in Round Rock, felt more at ease than some singers because
he auditioned for American Idol last year and knew what to expect.
After a year of rehearsing, strengthening
his voice (judges last year called it mediocre), and
studying tapes of the show, he felt confident until learning
he would have to spend the night outside.
I was shocked I could sing the next
day, Washington said. If Ive been out in the
cold for an extended period of time, my voice is nothing. But
God blessed me.
All three singers got the good news Sunday,
and will soon leave for Los Angeles. Before Anderson leaves, he
will become a father. His wife, Ashlie, is due to deliver a daughter
Although none of the singers has been guaranteed
to perform on the show the next round will cut the 150
singers to 30 Shoop said producers said cameras will roll
almost immediately after the singers arrive in Los Angeles.
Lacy Spano of Abilene advanced to the Austin
auditions, but was not invited to Los Angeles.
Contact leisure writer Brien
Murphy at 676-6760 or email@example.com
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