Hundreds of hopefuls line up for "American Idol"

Winner of singing competition Monday moves to regional audition in Chicago
By: Patty McAlpin Gold Country News Service
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LINCOLN ? And the winner of Monday?s ?American Idol? audition at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln and a trip to Chicago to perform for the show?s producers July 12 is ? No. 16. That lucky contestant is Alexandria Mazerolle, 21, of Marysville. She and 499 other contestants braved Monday?s quickly rising temperatures for a chance to sing to the judges. ?American Idol? is a popular reality TV show sponsored by the FOX Channel in which contestants compete for a recording contract. The Lincoln auditions started at 7 a.m. A few contestants staked their spots by camping out at 11 p.m. Sunday, according to Thunder Valley Casino spokesman Doug Elmets. Selected contestants participated in a short a cappella preliminary audition before 51 hopefuls participated in the final round of on-stage judging. From the final round, Mazerolle was chosen to advance to Chicago?s regional auditions. Monday?s hopefuls were from Lincoln, Manteca, Stockton, Yuba City, Roseville, Sacramento, Rocklin, Folsom, El Dorado Hills and Orangevale. Lead judge Larisa Brysk asked the top four to ?blow our hair back.? Brysk is Skip?s Music education director as well as a local musician and vocal coach. Other judges were Jerry Perry, a Sacramento music promoter, and Marty De Anda, DIG Music CEO. Mazerolle?s performance of ?I?m Going Down? by Rose Royce did just that. ?We wanted someone with the whole package,? Brysk said. ?We wanted to pick someone we feel will represent the Central Valley really well.? Eighteen of the 51 finalists were 18 or younger. Contestants must be between the ages 15 to 29 to be on the show, according to ?Idol? rules. ?I will do my best to represent us in the best way possible,? Mazerolle vowed after Brysk announced the judges? decision. Four preliminary judges helped pick the finalists. ?I?m so excited, said Mazerolle, a self proclaimed die-hard ?Idol? fan. This was her third audition for the television show and the first time she made it past the first round. ?I honestly came to have a good time,? Mazerolle said. ?I didn?t expect to make it to the top four or win.? She sang The Beatles? ?I Want to Hold Your Hand? for Monday morning?s first audition. Contestants had about 30 seconds to wow the judges. Among the final group of hopefuls waiting for a chance to impress the judges was 17-year-old Tristan Javier of Roseville. Javier, an ?Idol? watcher since the first season, planned to sing ?Unwritten? by Natasha Bedingfield. She ?felt the heat? both literally and figuratively. ?It?s really competitive,? Javier said. ?My dad found out about the auditions. I said I?ll give it a shot. There?s no harm in trying. I?d like to at least get past the first round. Either way, this will be a really good experience for me.? While waiting for their chance to perform, many contestants waved Fox 40 fans to help keep cool. By the time the top four finalists hit the stage at about noon, the sun was beating down at almost 90 degrees. ?It?s super hot,? Mazerolle said. The winner?s mother and aunt waved signs. Her mother, Michele Mazerolle, cheered for her while holding up a sign that read ?Ally 4 Idol.? Her mother entered her in pageants starting at age 3, Mazerolle said. To cure her of stage fright, Mazerolle said her mother bribed her with a kitten and candy. ?I guess that paid off,? Mazerolle quipped. ?I?m thrilled for her,? Michele Mazerolle said. ?She?s very excited and thrilled she got the opportunity to sing on this great big stage.? The outside amphitheater is one of the reasons Thunder Valley Casino was chosen to host the event. ?Thunder Valley is uniquely equipped to supply a multimedia experience,? Fox 40 Creative Services Director Greg Saunders said. Mazerolle, a Yuba College graduate and Casa Carlos employee in Marysville, is taking her ?Idol? team, her mother, aunt and cousin, with her to Chicago. ?I?m getting $700 for travel expenses but it will cost more than that to take my crew,? she said. ?They went to my first ?Idol? audition and have slept in the streets for me.? Elmets said the best part of the event is ?everyone who wanted to have their shot to make it all the way to Hollywood had their opportunity to show the judges what they had to offer. Everyone received positive, constructive feedback and Thunder Valley was excited to be part of their success.? Stephanie Dumm contributed to this story.