One day in Pittsburgh last July, Lake High School senior Amelia Finefrock found herself standing in front of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson. It was one of those pinch-me-is-this-really-happening? moments.
Having made it through a daylong marathon of preliminaries at Heinz Field, it was, at last, her turn to sing for the “American Idol” judges. “I was so nervous,” Finefrock, 17, recalled. “I was praying the whole time, ‘God give me strength.’ ”
Finefrock first sang “Syrup and Honey,” a bluesy number from British vocalist Duffy, then at the panel’s urging she launched into a second song, “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. “They gave me a lot of constructive criticism,” she said. “They said, ‘Work on your song choices.’ Their biggest fear was me not being able to sing more than one type of genre.”
Then J-Lo uttered four words that changed everything: “You’re going to Hollywood!” Finefrock was moving forward to Hollywood Week, the second round of “American Idol.”After 10 seasons, Stark County finally has an “Idol” contender. Look for Finefrock when the series’ first Hollywood Week episode airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on Fox.
MORE ON HER AUDITION
Unfortunately, there’s no inside scoop to share. An “Idol” publicist monitored the phone interview with Finefrock to ensure she gave nothing away about her “Idol” future. Finefrock did, however, have more details about her Pittsburgh audition with Lopez, Tyler and Jackson, which was not aired on TV.
“It was actually kind of funny, as I was walking in, they were trying to pronounce my name,” she said. “They were really easygoing. J-Lo said, ‘What do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘I just want to sing.’ ”
After receiving the thumbs-up from Lopez and Jackson (Tyler voted no), “I was stunned,” Finefrock said. Eager to share the exciting news with her family members, she first had to walk down a flight of stairs. “I was wearing these high heels. I couldn’t run down the steps!”
Waiting for Finefrock were her parents, Jeff and Andrea Finefrock, her brother, Elliot, her sisters Aliza and Jovie, and her grandmother Alice Young — and “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.
“Amelia is not a showy person. She’s pretty reserved, but she jumped up and down with her golden ticket,” Andrea Finefrock said. Amelia’s grandmother “really didn’t know who the celebrity judges were. She thought Steven Tyler was a woman. She thought he was Carly Simon!”