The third installment of the American Idol Season 9 auditions took place in Chicago and brought in thousands of hopeful singers from all over the heartland of the United States. One of those heartland hopefuls was 19-year-old Katelyn Epperly of Des Moines, Iowa.
Katelyn’s backstory was highlighted by the show prior to her audition, revealing that she was competing to be the next American Idol as a kind gesture to her mother because Katelyn’s father had just left her. Here’s the complete audition video with the introduction included. (I’ll transcribe the intro below the video)
Katelyn: My name is Katelyn Epperly I’m 19 years old and I’m from West Des Moines, Iowa. My mother has been trying to talk me into trying out for American Idol for a really long time. I always just was kind of stand-offish about the idea, but some things have happened this summer that have changed my way of thinking.
Katelyn’s mom: For the last few months our family has kind of been broken up. My husband decided to divorce and just the rug kind of pulled out from underneath us, so it’s been really hard for all of us.
Katelyn: My parents have gone to all of my performances and everything since I was very young and this is the first one that they, you know, that they’re not here together.
Katelyn’s mom: She’s doing this in part for me, you know. This day could be a new chapter in our lives, and especially for Katelyn, so we’re excited to see what happens.
THE AUDITION INTERVIEW:
Simon Cowell: Hello
Katelyn Epperly: Hi
Simon: How are you?
Katelyn: Very Good. Very nice to meet all of you.
Simon: Thank you. What’s your name?
Katelyn: My name is Katelyn.
Simon: Katelyn. OK. And why did you enter the show this year?
Katelyn: Well, I’m doing it because I have a lot of family problems at home, so –
Simon: Like what?
Katelyn: Um, like my dad leaving my mother. So, it’s her favorite show and it’s kind of something –
Simon: Who have you sided with (laughing)
Randy Jackson: What are you doing man?
Katelyn: I mean, I’m kind of forced to side with my mom but I’m still speaking with my dad.
Randy Jackson: Simon Cowell Therapist Hour! What are we doing here?
Simon: You feel better after our little conversation, don’t you? It’s like the air is now cleared.
Katelyn: (smiling) Yeah, it’s all out in the open now.
Simon: The reason why I’m here. OK, and what are you going to sing?
Katelyn: “Syrup and Honey” by Duffy
Here is Katelyn’s Golden ticket interview, once again followed by the transcription:
“My name is Katelyn Epperly. I am from Des Moines, Iowa. I auditioned – I had a lot of family issues and stuff that went down so it was kind of like a chance to go do something different and kinda forget about what was going on.
What sets me apart from others is that I’m very optimistic and I’m also realistic, I guess, about everything in the competition. So many awesome people and so, yeah, through this whole thing I’ve just kept a clear mind, clear head – didn’t worry too much about it. I Tried not to at least.
Probably one of the most memorable times I sang was at – it was my senior year of high school and … yeah, after I sang the National Anthem they all started singing it with me and it was just a sea of people. It was awesome.
What most people probably wouldn’t know about me is that I actually have a couple different bands that I write with. I have a full band and I have more of like an experimental rock band … I’m learning to be an engineer, I’m learning to produce, I’m learning to be a booking agent and all the stuff that goes along with that. And I’m also a songwriter. So, my talents kind of stop where music ends.
Actually my favorite American Idol moment I would say was actually Season One when Kelly Clarkson won because I can’t imagine being the first American Idol – how that would feel – and she was just obviously in tears in her last performance, as most are, but I think that was probably the most special.”
One of her bands, Katelyn and the Bruises, you can check out on myspace and facebook and even listen to some of their songs. (I believe this is her “experimental rock band” she mentioned.)
Katelyn’s personal facebook account has lots of fun photos of herself, a large number of which involve alcohol:
I’m not sure what the legal drinking age is in Iowa, but some of these date back to 2007 which would make Katelyn Epperly either 17 or 18 when they were taken – and something tells me that even in a state where “corn squeezins” are readily available, that’s still a little south of legal. There were also photos of a friend rolling what she called a “blunt,” followed by photos of a group of young people described as (and looking to be) “high.” Is that something American Idol would have an issue with?
Here are another of Katelyn Epperly’s AlcoHall of Fame portraits:
I should say that in the photos in which Katelyn appears to be drinking alcohol, she does look to be doing it responsibly – at a friend’s house or in the backyard. And, she appears to pass out in safe places. Ummm…
Anyway – Katelyn was really great in her audition and according to leaked reports she is one of the 24 finalists. Best of luck to you Katelyn! We wish you lots of success and hope to still be posting about you this time next year! (Let’s hope we’re not talking about how you are gay, surprisingly finished second and released a really lame debut album. Actually, talking about you being gay would be fine!)