"American Idol" held open-call auditions for its upcoming third season in Greenpoint Tuesday, and hundreds of hopefuls showed up looking for a ticket to Hollywood.
Nervous New Yorkers began lining up as early as 6 a.m. at the Brooklyn Expo Center for the chance to perform in front of the producers of the ABC competition series.
"This is the very first audition. It’s always the hardest and the easiest," said Patrick Lynn, the senior supervising producer for "American Idol." Without a quota to fill and two months of national auditions ahead of him, Lynn said it’s possible for several locals to head through to the next round.
It all "depends on the talent," he adds.
Among that talent was Talia Johnson, who traveled more than two hours from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, in the morning’s rain for the chance to stun producers with a performance of "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston.
"This has been a dream of mine since I was 11," she said.
For Sage Haley, from East Meadow, Long Island, the morning’s events were "a long time coming." The performer with a self-described rock edge planned to show off her "belty vocals" with her own rendition of Queen’s "Somebody to Love."
"It took me a long time to feel emotionally and physically prepared for this. I wanted to make sure my voice was ready," she said.
The Brooklyn audition also marked the return of a familiar face: Madison VanDenburg. The 17-year-old — who came in third place on the previous season of "American Idol" — served as an adviser during the audition, chatting with hopefuls and posing for photos.
"’American Idol’ was the best thing I’ve ever done, not even just for my career, but for my life," said the teen from Cohoes, New York. "Coming off the show, I’ve been writing a lot, performing as much as I can and trying to keep going while it’s hot right now. It’s been hard, but so worth it."
Offering advice to those auditioning for the first time, VanDenburg said performing an original arrangement "will help them stand out. I’d say that’s probably the biggest thing."
Sharing his own, Lynn said, "stand your ground and be confident. There’s going to be a lot of singing going on around you. You’re going to think other people are better than you. Just do your best and perform. Just go for it."
In-person auditions for series producers continue through September with dates set for Las Vegas (Aug. 26), Washington, D.C., (Sept. 4) and Nashville, Tennessee (Sept. 18).
If you’re interested in showing off your skills for the chance to be judged by celebrity performers, sign up for an audition spot now at abc.go.com/shows/american-idol/auditions.
If you register online, you’ll have a better chance of securing an audition time slot. For the upcoming season, ABC is keeping its "Idol" hopefuls between the ages of 15 and 28 years old. Those outside of the age range won’t be eligible to register.
"American Idol" was renewed for a third season on ABC in May, and is expected to premiere in 2020. The celebrity judges for the new round have not yet been announced and therefore won’t be in attendance at the auditions. Instead, they’ll serve as a pre-screening round.
Judges Luke Bran, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie have not yet commented on if they’d return.
"American Idol" aired 15 seasons on Fox, its original network, before being picked up by ABC in 2018. The upcoming 2020 release will technically mark the series’ 18th season.
With Shelby Knowles