A 17-year-old Florence youth was one of 600 people attending an “American Idol” audition Aug. 25 at Wright Park in Dodge City.
Angel Funk, a senior at Marion High School, performed “Jesus Take the Wheel,” in front of two of the show’s senior producers, Katie Fennelly and Norm Betts.
Funk said it was the first time she sang without music, and in front of television cameras.
“I was petrified,” she said, “but I am definitely going to try again.”
A capella music is difficult, Funk said.
“Some people had a guitar, and if they knew how to play it they were allowed to use it. But I didn’t know how to play, so for me it was a capella.”
Funk and three other hopefuls were grouped together.
“The judges sat at a little table and we had to look facing them on the other side,” she said.
Although Funk didn’t move on to the next level of competition, she said one of the judges liked her audition and started singing with her.
“The other judge said I needed a little bit of improving, but I wasn’t discouraged.”
Both of the judges encouraged her to try again.
“They told me I need to work on being a little stronger.”
The auditioning process has three levels.
“If you made it past the first level, you would perform for the executive producers later that day,” Funk said. “If you made it past them, they gave you a call back and set a date for you to perform for the celebrity judges.”
Funk said her mother drove her to Dodge City; she waited in line about two hours before it was her turn.
“I wore jeans and whatever cool T-shirt I could find that day,” she said.
Funk found out about the auditions on Facebook Aug. 20, giving her four days to prepare.
“My mom was there the whole time and waited behind the fence.”
Funk didn’t recognize anyone she knew at the audition.
“I did meet a couple of people while I was there, and they were all different ages,” she said.
One person she said she was hoping to make it to the finals was a 28-year-old; this was his last chance because of the age restrictions.
Funk said filling out the paperwork necessary to compete was easy.
“I thought it would be really difficult, and I would have to jump through all these hoops,” she said. “The only rule was we had to sing a song from memory.”
Funk said she enjoys singing, but has never had voice lessons.
“I just picked up singing,” she said. “I love to sing.”
During her freshman year at MHS, Funk tried out for choir. But when she wasn’t selected, she didn’t try again.
“I am planning on trying out for the school musical, ‘Once Upon a Mattress,’” she said.
The producers started the tour Aug. 4 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and said they were surprised at the level of talent in the smaller cities they visited.
Dodge City was the second to the last stop, with Grand Junction, Colo., being the final leg of the tour.
Other towns on the “American Idol Small Audition Bus Tour” were: Billings, Mont.; Casper, Wyo.; Rock Rapids, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa; Bowling Green, Ky.; Clarksdale, Miss.; and Joplin, Mo.