For most, performing what you love on national television only exists in a dream. For senior Remi Wolf, this became a reality when she decided to audition for the 13th season of Fox’s “American Idol.”
However, her preparation started years prior.
“It was really sophomore year when I started performing with Chloe [Zilliac],” Wolf said.
With senior Zilliac, her best friend and bandmate, she began honing her vocal skills in hopes of seeking fame in various singing competitions. Having auditioned for NBC’s “The Voice” three times, various college music programs and now “American Idol,” Wolf has gone through many different processes.
The “American Idol” auditions began in July for Wolf, when she traveled to AT&T Park in an attempt to stand out from the masses. Luckily, her voice teacher had been contacted by “American Idol,” giving her a free pass to sing for the minor producers.
Throughout all of the preliminary auditions, Wolf chose to sing “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye.
“I’ve learned through auditioning for a lot of things that when you go in, you want a song that’s impactful and loud right off the bat,” Wolf said. “And [Let’s Get it On] is a song I can just start off belting.”
After making it past the initial cut, Wolf had to come back in August to perform for the executive producers.
“At this point, there were about 300 people still left from San Francisco, and they cut it down to 43 to actually perform for the judges,” Wolf said.
However, as Wolf revealed, the judges don’t even have control over which of these 43 singers made it to Hollywood.
“This show is so produced, like the judges don’t make any decisions, it’s all the producers,” Wolf said. “[The judges] have sheets in front of them, that I think say ‘we want this person to go through.’”
Nevertheless, Wolf took a break from Spirit Week on Oct. 22, to spend 20 minutes with three music industry legends: Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, the current judges for the show. Hugs, autographs and small talk were all included, and Wolf managed to win over all of them, receiving a unanimous decision, which later aired on Jan. 16.
But after the lightheartedness of her initial audition, Hollywood Week loomed, along with the notorious drama of Group Night. Yet according to Wolf, this drama does not come naturally. “American Idol” producers take extensive measures to maximize drama. Contestants are forced to be ready by 6:30 a.m. and do not receive any snacks throughout the day. They get less than an hour of sleep that night, if anything, before performing for the judges the next day.
“I don’t know if anybody passed out this season, but normally they said there are people that pass out because they’re not feeding themselves or drinking water,” Wolf said. “It’s not because everyone’s completely unreasonable, it’s that everybody is so tired. Just before our group went out on stage, we were just all delusional.”
Wolf’s group consisted entirely of contestants from the San Francisco auditions, and they had grown extremely close throughout all of the waiting and nerves. With Rachel Rolleri and Amber Renee Dundee, Wolf hit the stage after only 45 minutes of sleep.
However their chemistry wasn’t enough to get Rolleri or Wolf through to the next round.
But to even make it this far was a huge accomplishment for Wolf, who accredited her individuality — a key factor for contestants — to her hair, which won her tweets such as, “Wow this girl looks homeless, does she even shave her legs?”
“Literally off of like 30 seconds of airtime, I was criticized by America — thank you America,” Wolf said.
Now that the months of auditions have finished, Wolf’s moment of fame from “American Idol” has subsided, she looks to the growing success of her and Zilliac’s newly released extended play, “Lookout,” which features five original songs.
Along with every other second-semester senior, college is also on the mind of Wolf, and after being accepted to the Thornton School of Music at USC and the Berklee College of Music, Wolf looks to continue her passion for music as a student.