Next week, thousands of Oklahomans will have a chance at stardom as “American Idol” producers set up shop for the first time in Oklahoma City at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, searching for the next pop, rock or country star.
“I have been pushing for Oklahoma City for two or three years now,” said Patrick Lynn, supervising producer for “American Idol.” “It's a part of the country we've never been to before.”
Lynn said he's hoping to find the next Carrie Underwood.
“There's no way to predict the talent,” he said. But he can predict a large crowd, possibly 5,000 or more, will show up for the auditions July 20.
Among the hopefuls will be several students of Regina Grimaldi, an Oklahoma City University adjunct voice instructor. She's putting her students through “American Idol Boot Camp.”
Grimaldi has had several students in the past make it past the preliminary “American Idol” auditions — some for their talent and others for their antics.
“If you go in with a choreographed dance and a weird suit and some cheesy phrases, they won't look at you twice,” she said, referring to a male student she had who made it to auditions in front of that season's celebrity judges — Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson.
This student had a good voice and training, Grimaldi said, but he made the mistake of wearing a sparkly blue hooded bodysuit to his audition — a gimmick that got him noticed, but for the wrong reasons.
“He pulled the wool over my eyes,” Grimaldi said. “But he paid for it. He got to see J. Lo and Randy — but as the kid in the blue suit.”
Lynn said the auditors are looking for singers with great voices and great personalities that don't need goofy gimmicks to sell themselves.
“There's no harm in going up to a producer and introducing yourself,” Lynn said. “We want to know who you are and that's the easiest way to do it. We're going to all the trouble to come to these cities to meet you guys, so come out and introduce yourself.”
Morgan Lynn Tracy said she'll heed Lynn's advice. The 18-year-old is one of Grimaldi's “boot camp” students. She drove to Edmond from her home in Bradshaw, Neb., to spend the week cramming with Grimaldi.
“For me this is a chance to prove my mother wrong,” Tracy said. Her mother has been less than supportive of her dream to become a professional singer or professor of music, Tracy said.
“She said that I was way too heavy.”
Having lost more than 60 pounds in the last year, Tracy hopes her talent, stage presence and personality will shine brighter than her weight woes.