Fox’s American Idol bus rolled into Portland Wednesday and started the auditioning process for a few hundred reality stars in the making. At the end of a very long and hot day, only a handful of hopeful American Idol contestants made it on to the next round.
Despite staying up late the night before, Naomi Tatsuoka, 24, arrived at Director Park in downtown Portland by 9 a.m., right when auditions started, and waited about three hours before her chance in the limelight. But the wait paid off — Tatsouka, a full-time Portland musician, will be in the next round in Kansas City.
Senior Producer Peter Lynn said this is the third year that the show has done a bus tour to find new talent in smaller cities. Last time American Idol came to Portland, you may remember the crowds headed up to the International Rose Garden for the big tryouts. Last time, singers had to sing in front of an entire arena of spectators. Lynn explained that this year’s set up was for the shy singers who might be intimidated by a big crowd.
The long-time producer also said that he always enjoys coming to Portland because of the variety of singers who show up.
Young men and women filed through the process — some looking as though they’d just rolled out of bed, others camera-ready. One woman belted out an R&B song while wearing a neon reflective vest.
By 3 p.m., American Idol employees started to pack up one of two audition tables after the morning crowd had come and gone. Just before 4, people were able to sign up and immediately get their 30 seconds in front of the judges.