WEST FORSYTH — Allie Odom was just a few years old when the first “American Idol” was crowned. But since she was a little girl, auditioning for the televised Fox music competition had been a dream.
Standing in line among 8,000 other aspiring performers during the Atlanta auditions last year, Odom was nervous.
At 15, she was the youngest age allowed to audition. And with the support of her mother, boyfriend, best friends and voice teacher, she was trying to stay optimistic.
After a strong raspy rendition of “Mama Knows Best,” judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban gave Odom a coveted golden ticket to Hollywood.
“I’ve never met anyone famous before the audition,” Odom said. “But I’ve seen them on TV so many times, I felt like I knew them personally.
“They had nice things to say and they were really encouraging. I was worried they’d be mean.”
The West Forsyth High sophomore has performed in the school’s theater program and with a band, as well as a solo artist. Securing the judges’ approval was a huge confidence booster, particularly since she worried she would be too young to be taken seriously.
She was just one of 44 Atlanta auditionees — and 212 nationwide — to make it to the Hollywood round. She then made it through another round of cuts — and another — all the way to the famous group round.
Odom and her team, a group of strangers thrown together late at night, practiced until 3 a.m. She came up with the choreography for their song, “Too Close.”
Then, like so many groups in this stage of the game, their plan started falling apart. One girl fell sick, another complained of unfairness. Odom tried her best to stay calm.
“I didn’t want to be remembered on TV as someone freaking out the whole time,” she said. “It was the most stressful experience of my life, but it was really fun.”
After about three hours of sleep, all of the groups had to be ready and waiting at 6 a.m. to perform. There was more waiting as the group watched others perform first.
“We didn’t do anything until 1 p.m. they just wanted to get us up early so we were all mean ... it was really tiring,” she said.
Despite giving it her all, Odom was cut after the group’s performance aired earlier this month. It was an emotional cut, having been so close to making the show’s Top 20.
While many who make Hollywood Week return to auditions the next year, Odom said she’s likely done with the show.
“It was a lot, but I just don’t really see it happening for me,” she said. “It was really fun though, I just don’t want to do it again ... I have other opportunities I’d rather focus on.”