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B.C. singer passes audition, gets ‘American Idol’ golden ticket

Cameron Whitcomb, 19, impresses celebrity judges with Waylon Jennings song
Cameron Whitcomb passes his American Idol audition in Austin, Tex., to advance to the show’s Hollywood Week. (Photo courtesy ABC/Eric McCandless)

Another singer from Nanaimo has impressed the judges and is moving on with a chance to be the next American Idol.

Cameron Whitcomb, 19, passed his audition in front of celebrity judges on the Monday, March 21 episode of the ABC reality TV talent competition. It’s the second time in three seasons that a Nanaimo contestant has been part of American Idol after Lauren Spencer-Smith made it to the top 20 in 2020.

On Monday’s episode, Whitcomb started his audition with a standing backflip, then performed Waylon Jennings’ Rock, Salt and Nails. Lionel Richie remained unconvinced, but Katy Perry and Luke Bryan both said ‘yes,’ meaning Whitcomb received a ‘golden ticket’ to advance to the next stage of the competition, Hollywood Week.

“I lost my mind,” Whitcomb said. “I remember celebrating and I had to lock myself in a bathroom somewhere and hyperventilate because it really happened. It’s a huge thing.”

Whitcomb grew up in Nanaimo and went to school at Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ Learning Alternatives, where he enjoyed the “amazing” music program. He then moved to Kamloops, where he works as a motorcycle mechanic and a pipeline labourer.

Whitcomb said he got into Tyler Childers country music and thought his own karaoke renditions sounded pretty good, so he started posting videos on Instagram. One of those videos caught the eye of a casting agent, who got in touch with Whitcomb about American Idol.

“I didn’t even know they took Canadians, except for Lauren, but that’s a special case because she’s pretty amazing,” Whitcomb said.

His American Idol audition was taped last fall in Austin, Tex., and Whitcomb said his audition was late in the day.

“So I had spent the entire day just nerved out of my mind. I’d watched amazing singers, one after the other, some of them getting turned away and I’m like, ‘I am not nearly as good as a lot of these people,’” he said.

But he managed to turn his nerves into adrenaline and said leading up to his turn, he was jogging in place and must have resembled a boxer getting ready for a bout. Seeing his audition now, he notices that he was cutting notes short and said since then he’s learned to breathe more and has benefited from vocal training and singing lessons.

“I’m a better singer now, but it was just where I was at and I think it worked in my favour, because I can only really go up from there,” Whitcomb said.

He obviously can’t reveal how the season will play out, but he promises that American Idol’s Hollywood Week is “going to be a riot” and that the competition will be “super exciting.” He can’t wait to see how the season is put together and presented on television.

“It was just a great experience meeting tons of musicians and picking their brain and just taking every little bit you can from everyone you meet,” Whitcomb said. “If anything, I would have came out a winner, regardless of the golden ticket or not, being able to meet these musicians and taking away some knowledge I’ll have with me for the rest of my life.”

American Idol airs on ABC and CityTV.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo’s Lauren Spencer-Smith looks back on ‘American Idol’ experience

READ ALSO: Nanaimo teen won’t be next American Idol, but she’s excited about her future in music

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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