American Idol takes over the Big Easy

Contestants meet the judges

Monday, October 18, 2010 - 7:31pm

NEW ORLEANS, La (WGMB) -- As the sun comes up over the Crescent City, a line of Hollywood hopefuls winds its way along the Mississippi River. They huddle near their family and friends, fingers crossed that today will get them one step closer to making their dreams a reality. These are the American Idol contestants, young men and women vying for a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Today marked the final day in New Orleans for the hit reality series. Contestants braved long lines, and for some, long drives to get to this point, a few minutes with the celebrity judges.

"I've been watching American Idol since I was eight years old," says 15-year-old Ashlynne Scott. "The day it aired I was like 'Mom, I'm going to be on that show.'" Scott, decked out in her best rockstar outfit, is part of a new age group for Idol. Just this year, the show's producers decided to lower the contestant age limit to 15.

Scott was ecstatic. "I told my mom, 'This is fate. Drop everything. We're going to Idol," she says.

Scott was among 50 other contestants that got a one-on-one shot at stardom with the judges. Joining her in the line of Louisiana singers is 26-year-old Melissa Cockerham. She's a seasoned veteran  when it comes to this contest. Last year, she traveled to Atlanta.

"I made it to the judges last year and they told me to come back, that I needed to work on my confidence," says Cockerham. And that's exactly what she did. Now, a year later, Cockerham feels confident.

"I think this year I'm a little more ready," she says. "I say, bring it on."

There are some fresh new faces on the judges panel this year. Music legend, Steven Tyler, and platinum-recording artist, Jennifer Lopez team up with Randy Jackson to make up the new group of celebrity judges for season 10. Already, they're impresseed with what they've been seeing.

"It's exciting," says Lopez of the talent she's seen in New Orleans and other cities across America. "It's rough. You shine it up a bit, put it in front of the lights and they're amazing."

And what are the judges looking for this year in their winner?

"Something unique about you," say Randy Jackson. "Some unbelievable talent of some kind and some star potential."

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