By MIKE CHAIKEN
Amaryllis Rodriguez of Connecticut wants it really bad.
And she’s closer now then she’s ever been.
Rodriguez was one of 25 hopefuls given the vaunted “Golden Ticket” at the Boston auditions for the 13th season of “American Idol.” Rodriguez joined hundreds upon hundreds of future Kelly Clarksons and Carrie Underwoods at the Massachusetts auditions, all vying for a chance to become the latest “American Idol.”
By winning that “Golden Ticket,” Rodriguez won the opportunity to go to Los Angeles, where not only will she go up against two other Connecticut residents tapped by celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr., she will be up against the best singers from all 50 states.
The morning after the Boston auditions episode of “AI” aired on Fox last Wednesday night (Rodriguez had some airtime on the episode as she reflected on performing for Jennifer Lopez), Rodriguez was making the rounds of interviews that accompany those who secure that “Golden Ticket.”
For Rodriguez, the process of trying to kick open the door for “American Idol” didn’t just begin a month ago when she arrived in Boston to secure a slot in the 13th season. The 24-year-old said this was her eighth time auditioning for “AI” before she made it this far in the competition.
Asked why she kept banging her head against the proverbial “American Idol” wall, Rodriguez explained her life is based on banging her head against the wall to open doors. “I love singing, I love dancing.” And “AI” will help get her goal to becoming an entertainer.
But Rodriguez also said she auditioned this year because of her mother and her brother. Their dream is to see their daughter and sibling win “American Idol.” So, Rodriguez said she continues to audition for their sake. And when she falters, she said they are there to pick her up and encourage her to keep plugging along.
Asked about the audition process, Rodriguez described an arduous endeavor that hopefuls must endure before getting a chance to sing before the celebrity judges.
The East Hartford resident’s first stop on the “American Idol” trail was Gillette Stadium (home to her favorite team, The New England Patriots). Rodriguez said registration alone for “American Idol” took two to three days. Next, she said she had to face the producers in the first few round sof auditions. Those days were eight to 12 hours long, mostly spent sitting around. Those contestants picked at Gillette were then sent into Boston to spend three more days auditioning for producers.
While you’re waiting, said Rodriguez, “You get intimated because the talent is so great.”
But, also, she said you make a lot of friends. Several of the contestants and Rodriguez still text and speak to each other a lot even though the Boston auditions are now several weeks in the past. “The friends I made will go beyond the show.”
Then finally, after making it through the initial audition gauntlet, the hopefuls such as Rodriguez finally got a chance to perform for Lopez, Urban, and Connick.
Rodriguez found herself the very first person in Boston to perform in front of the trio that held her fate in their hands.
Waiting for her chance to go into the room to sing for the judges, Rodriguez said she was “so nervous… You don’t know what to expect.”
Rodriguez said she knows producers sometimes pick hopefuls for their comedic value. So, as she stood waiting to appear before the celebrity judges, Rodriguez began to wonder was she there only to provide laughs when the show aired. “You start doubting yourself.”
When she finally got into the room, Rodriguez said she was so excited. She couldn’t believe that she was standing in a room where J. Lo. was looking right at her. (Rodriguez said as much when she was interviewed during the open season episode of “AI.”)
She was excited, but Rodriguez said she was so nervous that she sped through her first song.
Eventually, Rodriguez had a little help from Lopez, who helped her calm down and she nailed the song.
In the end, after her three songs were performed, Rodriguez was praised by the three judges. She said they liked her song choices and they liked her look.
And Lopez, Rodriguez said, was so impressed by her ambition to be the first Puerto Rican to win “American Idol,” she gave the Connecticut resident a huge hug.
“I didn’t want to shower because Jennifer Lopez hugged me and she smelled so good,” Rodriguez said.
Asked about her long-term career ambitions, Rodriguez, who currently is working as a sales representative, said she would like to be an internationally known singer of R&B and Spanish-language songs. “I look up to Jennifer Lopez and I want to follow in her footsteps.”
And rather than selling other people’s products, Rodriguez said, she wants to be selling her own CDs.
Speaking of her day job, Rodriguez was asked about the support she is getting from her employer as she pops off for her “American Idol” obligations.
“My boss is so excited,” said Rodriguez. Rodriguez said her boss told her that she never had any one “famous” work for her.
Looking back on the events that have given her the chance to perform in Los Angeles for “American Idol,” Rodriguez said, “It was one of the best weeks of my life,” said Rodriguez. And no matter how this season of “American Idol” unfolds (this cycle continues through May), Rodriguez said she was confident “so much will happen” because of it.
“American Idol” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN