Don’t mess with Texas talent

By Preston Gossett | Arts & Life Editor, Video by Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

Waco — the only Texas stop for American Idol’s summer auditions tour.

As early as 2:30 a.m., auditionees began lining up outside of the Waco Convention Center, and by 6 a.m., the line was wrapped around the building.

Johns Creek, Ga., sophomore Tori Templet has experience performing locally at Common Grounds and has previously auditioned for The Voice. Templet chose to sing Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s,” which ultimately got her through the preliminary rounds today.

Templet is inspired by a quote said by Jeffery Jordan — one of the lead singers of The Band Camino — in a Q&A before one of their concerts.

“If you know what you want, go for it. Don’t let anything hold you back,” Jordan said.

Templet offered advice to other hopefuls trying to make it in the music industry.

“Be yourselves — it’s important to stay grounded,” Templet said. “If you are confident in yourself, you can accomplish any dream.”

Malakoff resident Trey Jackson is no stranger to American Idol. He made an appearance on Hollywood Week last season.

“I had a goal that I always wanted to reach: to get the golden ticket. It took me five years — I started when I was a freshman in high school,” Jackson said. “It was a great experience, but I felt like I needed to keep going because I wasn’t finished yet. This is my shot; this is my time.”

Brennon McFarlane is a recent Baylor graduate who now works full-time in Waco. McFarlane is extremely thankful for this tour stop, because without it, he would not have been able to audition.

He is also no stranger to the spotlight, as he has performed in After Dark, Baylor’s all-university variety talent show, for three years.

“[Getting through to the next round] would mean the world,” McFarlane said. “Just to have that experience to really bring glory to God and give him praise, potentially on national television.”

Some contestants were there alone, some were with a best friend. However, for Louisiana-born Timesha Powell, she was not only accompanied by her best friend, but also by her cousin, her mother and two of her aunts. Each family member had a matching T-shirt with Powell’s picture printed on it and the words “The Next American Idol.”

“Do your best no matter what it takes,” Powell said. “Go out there and chase your dreams.”

According to Powell, her family said this is one of the most important things to remember.

For some contestants, advancing from the preliminary rounds means everything, but some may not know it’s a really lengthy process. Paperwork and patience are certainly required before any of the auditionees get to rub elbows with the judges.

Senior supervising producer Katie Fennelly offered some helpful tips to those auditioning.

“No. 1 – be yourself. We want to see everyone’s true artistry shine through,” Fennelly said. “The only way that will happen is if you stay true to who you are as an artist.”