“Today it takes somebody that stands out,” Seacrest said. “Today, what we really look for is potential. You don't have to be perfect in this audition. But we want to find potential that we can work with through the next rounds. Star quality.”
Dominique Blackwell has a spark of that quality. The 21-year-old lives in Atlanta and flew to Oklahoma City for the audition. He was pretty confident of his skills.
“What kind of singer are you?” I asked.
“A good one,” he replied with a huge smile. He calls himself “Dom the Bomb.”
And if Katie Sherwood, 16, of Del City, doesn't make it onto TV, you can likely catch her singing at the grocery store, school or anywhere she feels inspired.
“I usually sing wherever I get the chance to. I can randomly be in Walmart and burst out singing,” she said.
“True story,” her companion confirmed.
It was clearly an Oklahoma crowd with dozens of women in short dresses and cowboy boots and men in cowboy hats. One such man was Gary Beckett, 20, of McLoud.
Beckett and a friend, Tyler Ledford, 23, also of McLoud, said their biggest singing exposure thus far has been at karaoke night at a local tavern.
“I sing whenever I can, that's about it,” Beckett said. He seemed unusually calm and collected, though he said he thinks he'll be very nervous when it's time to belt out his song of choice, “Lean On Me,” by Bill Withers.
“I think there's a lot of anticipation that's been building up,” Beckett said. “Everyone is so excited to get in there and give it their all that they're just kind of in the zone.”
After Friday's auditions, about 500 likely will move on to the next round of local auditions. From there, they'll be whittled down until a final local audition, when some of the talented few to make it that far will receive the coveted “golden ticket” to Hollywood Week, which takes place in the fall.
“I know the spirit of this city,” Seacrest said. He was at one of the Thunder's home playoff games. “This is an incredible crowd that's packed the streets this morning, so hopefully we'll see somebody great and take them back with us to Hollywood.”