The masses descended upon Wichita's Century II Convention Center on Wednesday with high hopes and aspirations of music stardom — as representatives from "American Idol" made a stop in town for a round of open auditions.
Among those showing up for their shot at a spot in the singing competition show was Newton's Adam Chamberlain. By day, Chamberlain is a shift manager at the local Pizza Hut, but his passion for music runs deep. He has been involved in choir since grade school, community theater, Newton High School drama and even participated in "Newton Idol" when the city held its own version of the competition several years ago.
Chamberlain made it to the finals of "Newton Idol" in his final year competing, but the show itself was another level — and an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"It's been kind of a dream. I've always loved performing for people and stuff like that, and I've had people tell me my entire life I need to try out," Chamberlain said. "I just finally decided, since it's here close and I can actually go and do it, I'd go ahead and get it over with, see if I'm any good at it. Worst case scenario, at least I have fun, right?"
While he didn't find out about the auditions until a few days before, Chamberlain quickly began to put in the work to reach towards that dream — preparing a couple of songs for a tryout in front of "American Idol" producers (who were on site for this round of auditions).
Arriving at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, Chamberlain got his shot about five hours later — waiting his turn with thousands of other Idol hopefuls who turned out for the open auditions. Performing in front of one of the producers, Chamberlain ended up singing "I'm the Boss" by Big Bad Bosses and "Colorful" by The Verve Pipe for his audition.
"It was an interesting experience," Chamberlain said. "It was kind of a nervous experience, just a little bit, because of all the stakes and everything. For the most part, it was just a normal audition."
Though he did not quite make the cut, Chamberlain said he would be all for trying out again if the right opportunity presented itself (though at 27, he would only have one more year of eligibility per the show's audition regulations).
Getting the chance to pursue his passion — and meet other similarly passionate individuals in the process — is not something Chamberlain will soon forget. Knowing those opportunities don't come along often, he encourages others with similar dreams to pursue them.
"I finally got to have my shot, just like Charlie with the golden ticket. All it takes is that one shot and maybe you'll actually get it," Chamberlain said. "The only other thing I would take away from this is if any of the readers of The Newton Kansan want to try something like this, go for it. The worst thing they're gonna tell you is no and to come back next year."