Phoenix Rainbow of Clay entered the American Idol competition this past August in an attempt to become the next great singer. The Cicero-North Syracuse junior had her first try-out at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey.
"There were so many people at the first audition that it took two days," Rainbow said. "The people there told us that 16,000 people had come." The contestants went in rows of five, each person got 15 to 20 seconds to sing and then the judges would call out the number of the people who had just been cut. "The whole process was so fast, I sang and then heard the judges call out all of the numbers in the row except for me."
"The judges in New Jersey were regular people from Fox," Rainbow said. "You had to sing to them in order to get a ticket to go to Manhattan to sing in front of Paula, Simon and Randy." When talking about the whole process, Rainbow said, "The judges would tell the really bad people that they were good, and to sing the same song in front of Simon and the rest of the judges in Manhattan."
After making the cut in New Jersey, Rainbow then went onto Manhattan to sing in front of the three more judges before she could get to Simon, Paula and Randy. When she passed the second try-out in front of those judges she moved onto sing in front of Simon and the others that are seen on the aired version of the TV show.
Rainbow got to her third tryout and second in Manhattan at 7 a.m., she then had to wait until 6 p.m. to sing. "I waited for a long time, I was the fifth-to-last person to go, they talked about us coming back tomorrow because the judges were so tired but decided to go through with it since we were so close to the end," Rainbow said. "The girl before me was in there for like 15 minutes and I was standing there with Ryan Seacrest waiting to go, I was so nervous but he (Seacrest) kept asking me questions to keep my mind off of how nervous I was."