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NEARLY 'IDOLIZED:' ’Busco singer advances to televised audition on ‘American Idol’

February 15, 2012

Alex McDowell displays his American Idol number. — Photo contributed.

COLUMBIA CITY — Being the next American Idol is an extreme long shot. But Churubusco’s Alex McDowell took that shot and auditioned in front of the three judges for the popular television show.
He and three of his friends made their way to St. Louis during the summer of 2011 and say they had a great time during the grueling audition process.
“My friends and I are all in the Ball State Singers Glee Club and we heard about the auditions being in St. Louis, so we traveled there,” said McDowell.
Friends included Megan Downey of LaPorte, Rachel Hertenstein of Celina, Ohio and David Johnson of Zionsville.
All are second-year veterans of the BSU Singers and are best friends. They are also faithful watchers of Fox’s reality show American Idol.
“I’ve always wanted to try out for American Idol,” said McDowell.
The four students traveled to St. Louis at the end of June, 2011.
“We got there and saw what looked like a cattle call with 10,000 people. We arrived at 4 a.m. and stood in line with all the others.
From this initial audition, the four advanced through subsequent auditions and interviews and ended up on television — and in front of the show's celebrity judges, Randy Jackson, Aerosmith's Steve Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.
“When we went in we immediately saw the famous judges and it was weird, surreal. It just wasn’t a good vibe,” said McDowell.
"We sang and danced to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ which they showed on the Feb. 2 showing of American Idol," said McDowell. "Then each of us sang individually. I went last and sang ‘Solitaire’ by Clay Aiken. It was only 45 seconds but it seemed like an eternity,” said McDowell.
It was time for the judges’ remarks.
“Randy said we were stronger as a group rather than individuals. Steven Tyler was real nice but didn’t say much. Jennifer said we were all good. And then Randy said he didn’t like the plaid. I looked at him and noticed he was wearing a plaid shirt,” said McDowell.
Jackson added that I was too “theatre.”
It was time for the vote whether or not to send them to Hollywood.
Tyler voted yes for the group and no to the individuals.
Lopez said, “It breaks my heart but I’m going to have to say no.”
Jackson said, “No. Alex you can make it if you change your look, your voice and drop the glee club. And don’t wear plaid.”
So what’s next for McDowell?
“I’m thinking about trying out again,” he said.

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