RedEye

'American Idol' judges Mariah Carey and Keith Urban shed tears during Chicago auditions

If the producers of “American Idol” were hoping for judges who would shed a tear on camera, they got it in pop star Mariah Carey and country singer Keith Urban. The two new judges admitted during a press conference Wednesday at the Adler Planetarium — where auditions for the Fox singing competition took place — that they got emotional listening to aspiring singers in Chicago.

“I literally was in tears today,” said Carey, sitting alongside long time host Ryan Seacrest and fellow judges Urban, rapper Nicki Minaj and record producer and “Idol” original Randy Jackson.

“The stories are beyond belief. And they can sing too. It wasn’t the norm, I’d imagine.”

Urban said he was touched by one person in particular who was accompanied by his parents to the audition. It marked the first time the “Idol” hopeful had sang in front of his parents.

“I was fortunate to have my parents support me,” Urban said, pointing out that parents don’t always support their children’s music dreams. “It was beautiful to see.”

The judges met with auditioners Tuesday and Wednesday who made it past the producers round at the United Center in July, and the executive producers round that took place in Chicago days ago. Jackson and co. were in charge of determining who advanced to the next round (aka “You’re going to Hollywood!”).

Like Carey and Urban, Minaj is a newcomer to “Idol.” They replace season 10 and 11 judges  Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Minaj was the quietest of the panel during the brief press conference, which took place at the judges table with the Chicago skyline in full view in the background, but the “Starships” rapper did say of the auditions, “I’ve signed a lot of (breasts).”

It appeared as if there would be a completely new panel when Lopez and Tyler parted ways with the show in July, but Jackson now comes back for his 12th season as the experienced veteran. He has embraced the role by giving the new judges a few pointers and seemed the most at ease Wednesday.

“(Jackson) has given us a lot of insight,” said Carey. “I’ve already said this publicly, but I haven’t been watching ‘Idol’ every night. ... He’s been enlightening me.”

To date, Mount Prospect’s Lee DeWyze is the only Chicago-area native to win “Idol” during the show’s 11 seasons. Chicago native Jennifer Hudson came in seventh place on the show in 2004 but is the city’s most successful “Idol” alum after having won an Oscar and Grammy. Speaking of “Idol” alums, Carey said former winner Jordin Sparks, in town to sing the national anthem at the Ryder Cup opening ceremonies, visited the set that day.

“She didn’t make it through to the next round, unfortunately,” Urban said without missing a beat.

The 12th season of “Idol” premieres in January.

Twitter @aboutluisgomez

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Interview: New Year, new Lee DeWyze

    Interview: New Year, new Lee DeWyze

    The temperature was in the 30s Saturday evening in downtown Chicago, but you wouldn't know it from looking at Lee DeWyze.

  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...

Comments
Loading
90°