STOCKTON — Eddy Ayon’s dream was to audition for American Idol.
The local 16-year-old was all but assured of getting that chance simply by being at the front of the first-come, first-heard line for the FOX40 Idol event held Wednesday at the Bob Hope Theatre in downtown Stockton.
“I was so excited that I didn’t get any sleep last night,” said Ayon, who, along with his best friend Vanessa Garcia, 17, showed up at 3 a.m. greeted only by a sound asleep homeless person.
“We thought about going to San Diego (for the national auditions) but it was too far and too expensive,” Garcia said.
Fortunately, they were thrilled to discover that auditions for a chance to land on the hit TV show would be held right in their own backyard.
Ayon was also nervous and for good reason – he has never performed live in front of an audience or group.
In this case, a team of local music professionals provided by Skip’s Music served as the panel used to screen the contestants based on ability and stage presence.
Auditions included 400 hopefuls between the ages of 15 and 28. They were involved in the two-part session held to identify Northern California’s five finest vocal talents.
The winner of that group earned an expense-paid trip to San Diego on July 8 to perform in front of the American Idol producers at Petco Park.
Anthony Miller, meanwhile, was no stranger to playing in front of people. He’s enrolled at a performing arts school in Sacramento.
Miller, 16, was among the first to audition thanks to re-registering last week, thus, securing his chances to sing before the panel.
Only the first 200 to pre-register held that status.
Miller, who had the support of friends and family, arrived in Stockton at 6 a.m. to take his place in line among the hopefuls.
The Drennan family of Placerville also made a day out of the FOX40 Idol auditions.
Hannah Drennan, who often performs at coffee houses and open mic events, turned 15 not too long ago and urged her father, Dennis Drennan, to take her to the Stockton event.
“We packed up the car and brought the whole family here this morning,” Dennis Drennan said. “I figure whatever happens, happens – I don’t want to put any more pressure on my daughter.”