CMS teacher places in American Idol Experience competitionBy Emily Beckett Published 3:39pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The voice of a Clanton Middle School teacher earned recognition July 31 from producers of the TV show “American Idol.”
Alison Bridges, a sixth grade teacher at CMS, placed second in the American Idol Experience while she and her family were vacationing at Disney World in Orlando last week.
The American Idol Experience is a daily competition at Disney’s Hollywood Studios designed to give people a chance to skip the line at a real audition for the American Idol show.
Bridges, 30, sang her way through multiple rounds of the competition in hopes of winning a Dream Ticket, which allows its winner to schedule a front-of-the-line audition at a regional audition for American Idol.
Producers of the show serve as judges in the American Idol Experience competition.
Bridges said she didn’t know about the competition until she saw a sign during her vacation at Disney.
“Me and my mom watched American Idol, and I always thought it would be cool to try out, but it’s not really close,” Bridges said. “When I went to the park that day, I honestly didn’t know that it was there. We walked in, and I saw that (sign) and thought that might be interesting.”
Sporting a Minnie Mouse tank top, Nike shorts and tennis shoes, Bridges started her audition process with a private a capella performance of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” which she chose.
She advanced to the next round and sang two songs, “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum and “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles, in front of one of the show’s producers.
Bridges made it to the next round, the finale, and sang “American Honey” again onstage in front of judges and a live audience.
As with the show, the audience was allowed to vote for contestants after they performed.
“For the finale, they did hair and makeup and had a vocal coach, so it was really like being on American Idol,” Bridges said.
Finalists didn’t have access to a wardrobe, so Bridges wore the same outfit—her casual park attire—throughout the competition.
Bridges said she was the oldest finalist. The others, including the Dream Ticket winner, were 17 or younger.
She and the other three finalists were among nearly 200 people participating in the American Idol Experience auditions that day.
“Out of all that, I got to second place,” Bridges said. “You never know how far you can make it. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it to second.”
Bridges said a highlight of the whole experience for her was meeting nine American Idol Season 12 finalists.
“Seeing them in person, it’s really exciting,” Bridges said. “It was an experience. I had a lot of fun.”
Bridges said she has sung for groups in the past but hasn’t performed in such a large public setting since participating in Montgomery Idol several years ago.
“I made it to the top 3 and we performed at the Riverfront (Park),” Bridges said. “I’ve sung at church and different little events, but I don’t do a lot of that now.”
Bridges said although she didn’t win a Dream Ticket this time, she might audition for American Idol again in the future.
“I’ve always wanted to try out,” she said. “I can now say that I’ve tried out for American Idol. If I’m ever in Orlando, I’d definitely do American Idol Experience again.”
Bridges’ husband, Devin, and her parents, Gerald and Kay Carter of Billingsley, sat in the audience as she performed on the big stage in the American Idol Experience finale.
“It’s fun and it’s really close to the real thing,” Kay Carter said. “We were just thrilled about it. They had good things to say about her.”
Bridges said she is inspired to try again someday after meeting people at the competition who had auditioned multiple times but refused to quit.
“Just from seeing a lot of people there, they’ve tried over and over and over again,” Bridges said. “Don’t give up. Chase your dream and never give up.”