"American Idol," which began its 12th season last Wednesday, is one of the hottest tickets to stardom for an up-and-coming singer. Three area singers accepted “Golden Tickets” after auditioning for the show in Chicago, IL and will go on to compete in the show’s challenging Hollywood round.
Emmy Bodner, 19, is from Georgetown, Indiana. Although she considers herself a country girl, she also exhibits a rock vibe. She began singing at the age of 4 and plays guitar, keyboards and the mandolin.
A quick YouTube search of Bodner yields several snippets of her talent and growth throughout her young life. Six years ago she was one of several kids whose submitted video was chosen by CBS News as part of its “Living Room…Live! Kids” competition in which viewers voted online for their favorite video. Although Bodner didn’t make it to the finals in that contest, three years later, as a senior at Floyd Central High School, she not only made the finals, but won the competition to become WDRB’s 2010 Fox in the Morning Idol. She’s also performed as part of the band Exit 119 and The Emmy Bodner Band.
“My first thought whenever I got my golden ticket was a road trip!” Bodner told "American Idol" producers in an online video. “I’ve never been to LA or pretty much anywhere.”
Brandy Neelly, 17, is making her third trip to "American Idol’s" Hollywood round. The Oldham County native told Idol judge Keith Urban she was star-struck to perform before him, but by the time Neelly finished her rendition of Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” it looked as if Urban was also star-struck.
“I was excited when I got my golden ticket,” Neelly said in her "American Idol" interview after advancing to the second round. “It’s such a thrilling feeling and even though it’s my third year doing it, each time I get it, I feel something different. This year, I feel like it’s fate. I feel like it’s really my year.”
As the daughter of Mark Maxwell, the owner of Mom’s Music, Remington Maxwell has grown up around music. The Jeffersonville, Indiana teen is part of the all-girl band Hi-tops. Although fans didn't get to see her audition on the show, she's sure to make her presence known when the auditions head to Hollywood. Maxwell told Idol producers that her dad has been a huge inspiration and that, like him, she’ll be a performer whether it’s on the big stage or not.
“My first thought when I got handed that golden ticket…I’m super blessed, speechless,” Maxwell told American Idol producers. “No matter what happens with "American Idol," I’ll always be a performer.”
The first round of "American Idol" auditions continue next week as the show goes to Charolotte, NC and Baton Rouge, LA. The show airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on FOX.
Photo: Courtesy American Idol