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January 27, 2006

Zionsville teen passes American Idol audition

Zionsville — Although Kendall Phillips’ moments on screen were brief, it was better than the alternative.

The Zionsville teen passed the first step in becoming a contestant on “American Idol,” a popular contest on Fox that crowns one winner per season, granting that person a singing recording contract. Viewers vote on their favorites, and each week a contestant is eliminated. Phillips was featured briefly in two clips on the show’s fifth season premiere, which aired Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Phillips, 17, said she wasn’t disappointed that her audition from Chicago did not receive more airtime, because most of the contestants shown were really poor singers, and their performances were played for laughs.

“I’m glad I wasn’t in that group,” she said.

More than 10,000 contestants showed up at the audition in Chicago in September, and only 34 were given the opportunity to travel to Hollywood to remain on the show, she said.

Phillips made it to Hollywood and believes she will get more airtime when those episodes begin airing, but she said she is contractually prohibited from revealing the results of the shows.

The audition process in Chicago was spread out over two days, and with so many applicants, the first round of the competition was held at Soldier Field where the contestants and their families had to endure cold weather and rain, said Kim Estep, Phillips’ mother.

“I sat through 10 hours of freezing rain,” Estep said.

Phillips said contestants go through several rounds of auditions with producers and executive producers before reaching the final round of the audition process, where they perform for the television judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, who choose the contestants that will go on to Hollywood.

Contestants are told to prepare two songs, and Phillips said she was allowed to perform both songs she selected, “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera and “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” by Robert Palmer, for the three judges.

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