Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm by Diana Nollen Life
Alisabeth Von Presley, "American Idol" contestant from Cedar Rapids. (americanidol.com photo)
By Diana Nollen/ SourceMedia
Cedar Rapids singer Alisabeth Von Presley, a powerhouse on the local theater and music scene, has come to the end of her “American Idol” Season 12 journey.
She made it to Hollywood Week, but was cut by producers, so she was not among the singers who performed in the a cappella and group rounds that aired last night (2/13/13) on the Fox channel.
This morning on her Facebook page, she said: “I got to perform for the judges twice! ) just cut in the end by the producer.”
During the show, while lots of her hometown friends were scanning the faces to find hers, she posted: “Hey y’all – I had a crazy Hollywood Week experience on American Idol!! BUT you probably won’t see me on TV because I wasn’t cut by the judges I was cut by the producer. Bummer! But other great opportunities have come from this!!!!!”
Marion contestant Gabe Brown saw his journey end in Hollywood, as well.
Both attracted the talent scouts’ eyes and ears during 2012 auditions in Iowa City and Chicago.
This won’t be the last time we see these two singers in the spotlight. Nobody loses on “American Idol,” right Jennifer Hudson?
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:00 am by Diana Nollen Life
Gabe Brown of Marion (American Idol photo)
By Diana Nollen/ SourceMedia
I love the way Eastern Iowans keep capturing national and world stages. Move over Ashton and Sole Survivor Denise Stapley. Gabe Brown is singing his way through “American Idol.”
We saw him make it to Hollywood Week a couple of weeks ago, after nailing his Chicago audition. Last night, the popular talent show and star launcher showcased the top 100 guys, winnowing the field to the top 40 guys.
Brown, 22, of Marion, made the cut. He survived the first round, a sudden-death lineup where the qualifiers were brought in 10 at a time to sing a little something, then found out right away whether or not they would advance to the group round.
Producers then divided the guys into groups of three, four or five and gave them 24 hours to come up with a group name, choose a song from a list of 20, learn it, devise choreography and perform pretty much dog-tired after staying up all or most of the night to complete the assignment.
As judge Randy Jackson said, “This will separate the men from the boys.”
Some crumbled under the fatigue and pressure, others rose to the occasion, and others proved their mettle by vamping right through the lyrics they were flubbing or forgetting.
Brown was in a foursome called the Math Heads, belting out Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” All four — Brown, Mathenee Treco, Nick Boddington and Matheus Fernandes — wowed the judges and advanced to tonight’s solo round.
So tune in to your local Fox channel tonight (2/7/13) at 7 to see if Brown’s odyssey continues or ends.
Next week, the ladies take the stage, with Alisabeth Von Presley, 25, of Cedar Rapids, ready to rock the socks off of judges Jackson, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Mariah Carey.
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 11:45 am by Diana Nollen Life
"American Idol" contest Alisabeth Von Presley stars as Maureen in the Theatre Cedar Rapids 2010 production of "Rent." (Rob Merritt photo)
Two Eastern Iowans have won a golden ticket to the Hollywood rounds of “American Idol” season 12.
Gabe Brown of Marion and Alisabeth Von Presley of Cedar Rapids wowed the celebrity judges in Chicago, after catching producers’ eyes and ears last August during “Idol’s” Small Town Bus Tour stop in Iowa City.
Both were invited to the Adler Planetarium to join hundreds of other hopefuls auditioning for celebrity judges Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.
The hit Fox television talent show has launched superstar careers for past winners and finalists Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry. Competition is open to singers ages 15 to 28.
Brown and Von Presley are among 46 Windy City auditioners who advanced to the Hollywood rounds, which will air later this winter.
Viewers got to see Brown’s wild Chicago audition Thursday night, but not Von Presley’s. Both are well-known in local circles. Brown is lead singer for the power rock band, Helforsout, which has been making the scene since August 2011. Von Presley is a regular on the Theatre Cedar Rapids stage, belting out an unforgettable star turn as Maureen in “Rent” in 2010, among other leading roles.
Brown’s band covers everything from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin to Foo Fighters and Soundgarden, so it’s no wonder he blew the judges away with a full-out a cappella rock blast of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Urban shouted out, “I love it. You’re deafening at that volume.”
Carey wanted to hear something “a little more mellow,” so Brown then launched into “We All Die Young,” but couldn’t resist cranking up the rock power with that one, too. Minaj declared, “I like you Curly,” referring to Brown’s untamed hair. Jackson said he liked it, too, especially since they hadn’t heard a real rocker up to that point.
“When you’re doing your rock thing, I believe you,” Minaj added.
“Guys who have big, massive belting voices have big hearts, too,” Urban said, right before the panel gave Brown a resounding round of yes votes.
Brown then ran screaming through the Planetarium auditorium, waving his golden ticket.
True to her theatrical roots, Von Presley sang “I See a River” from the musical “Urinetown,” along with Otis Redding’s R&B classic, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” Let’s hope America gets to hear her sing in the Hollywood rounds.
“American Idol” airs at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on the Fox channel.
Here are Brown’s and Von Presley’s “going to Hollywood” tapes: