Throngs of singers began lining up before 3 a.m. Saturday at the Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix for a shot at an audition for the television show "American Idol."
Open to performers between 16 and 24 years old, KSAZ-TV (Channel 10) producers held simultaneous auditions at two other Valley malls in a search for Arizona’s idol.
"I’m so pumped," said contestant Casey Doscher, 21, of Scottsdale. "I am a little bit nervous, but I have been singing since I was a very small child."
Doscher, who arrived around 3 a.m. for the auditions, was one of about 72 singers at the Paradise Valley Mall vying for five spots. Those five will eventually join 30 contestants from other auditions to perform Aug. 20 at the Dodge Theater in Phoenix. The winner of that competition will have a guaranteed audition on "American Idol."
"The people that try out have a really good chance on getting on the show," said Jim Girodo, a Channel 10 producer. "Just look at last year’s ‘Arizona Idol’ winner Rebecca Bond. She was in the same group as top two finalists Ruben and Clay."
Each singer had 30 seconds to sing.
Shimon Mattox, 18, of Scottsdale, who planned to sing the national anthem, said he liked his chances of being one of the five finalists.
"I’ve been brought up my whole life singing in the church," Mattox said.
Joel Tye, 21, of Mesa, a professionally trained classical musician, said he is trying out as a chance to break into mainstream music.
"I always wanted to get into pop music and thought I would give this a try," Tye said "You never know, I might just win."
The finalists from Saturday’s auditions will be notified today, Girodo said.
The "Arizona Idol" winner and a companion will be flown to New York on Aug. 24 and will audition in front of the "American Idol" producers, Girodo said.
What: Open auditions for "American Idol"
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Paradise Valley Mall, 4550 E. Cactus Road, Phoenix; Superstition Springs Center, 6555 E. Southern Avenue, Mesa; and Desert Sky Mall, 7611 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix