Voices anything but idle at tryouts for reality TV show

Leah Manee of Grand Junction sings Etta James’ classic “At Last” at Saturday morning auditions for TV’s “American Idol” at Allen Unique Autos. About 20 singers turned out for a chance at the reality show. The local winner competes July 29 in Denver in front of the show’s producers.

Kody Taylor had been staking out Allen Unique Autos, the site of this year’s local “American Idol” auditions, for three days, watching for the competition to arrive.

The 17-year-old Clifton resident didn’t want a repeat of last year, when he missed his opportunity to compete for a chance to sing in front of “American Idol” producers.

He had been comforting his grandmother, who was still reeling from the death of her husband, and his flight home arrived the day after auditions took place.

This year, things were going to be different, he said. He made daily trips to the business, checking to see if a line was forming. After all, the four-judge panel would only listen to the first 120 people to register Saturday morning.

Taylor didn’t need to worry. Only 20 people showed up for the auditions, with Taylor snagging the fourth spot in line.

The number of competitors was irrelevant to Taylor, who was just happy for a chance to belt it out for an audience.

“That’s on my bucket list, to get on stage and sing,” he said.

Although he’s never taken formal lessons, Taylor has been singing his entire life. He uses music to entertain himself during chores and sings his younger siblings to sleep.

Taylor learns songs by listening to the radio and watching YouTube videos to learn the words and tempo of songs he likes, he said.

“I’m like a mockingbird,” he said with a laugh.

His mother was the one to push him to audition Saturday, he said.

“My mom just loves my voice. She didn’t want me to miss this opportunity,” he said.

Taylor didn’t spend too much time preparing any one song. In fact, he wasn’t sure which song he wanted to sing, even as the competition began.

“I’ve got about eight songs in my head at any one time,” he said. “I’ll just choose one of them.”

Regardless of the outcome of the competition, Taylor said he’s grateful for the opportunity to display his talent and overcome his stage fright.

“It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey,” he said. “I hope I can do more of this in the future if I don’t throw up.”

Kayla Casey was announced as the winner of the local competition during television station KREX’s 10 p.m. broadcast.

With the victory, Casey was granted a front-of-the-line pass for the “American Idol” auditions July 29 at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver.


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