Zoe Wildasin, 16, won The American Idol Experience Nov. 24 at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla.
Wildasin, who is a sophomore at Spring Grove Area High School, said she competed against 64 other auditioners during her family's Thanksgiving vacation to Walt Disney World.
Talent scouts and audience members liked Wildasin's renditions of "Beauty and the Beast," "Pocahontas" and "The Little Mermaid" tunes so much that they voted for her to win a Dream Ticket to any future "American Idol" auditions.
"American Idol" season 10 auditions already took place. The season premieres Jan. 19 on Fox.
Wildasin said she is not sure which audition she'll attend in the future. Right now, she's busy singing in local musicals and choirs.
How did you get interested in music? I always used to sing when I was younger. I used to live in Chicago, and then, I moved to New York. When I lived in New York, we would go to (New York) City all the time and see musicals. I really stared thinking that that's what I wanted to do. It looked (like) lots of fun up there.
How did you get involved in local productions? Once I moved to (York County), the first show I ever did was "Follow That Rabbit," which is kind of like a spin-off of "Alice in Wonderland." That was when I was in fifth grade, and that was at Eichelberger Performing Arts Center. My music teacher . . . kind of encouraged me to audition for (Spring Grove high school's production of) "The Sound of Music" because they needed little kids. I auditioned, and I got (the part of) Brigitta. The director Jess Staub and I kind of formed this bond. After that, she asked me if I would be interested in doing a summer musical with her . . . theater group (ACTS of Kindness Theatre Company). I've done . . . five shows with them. (Spring Grove high school's spring 2010) musical came along and I got (the part of ) Belle for "Beauty and the Beast." That was my first big lead.
Any other shows coming up? I'm getting ready to audition for "Into the Woods." Prior to leaving for Disney, I had my first honors choir concert with the York (County) Senior Honors Choir.
What are your inspirations? We had a girl in our school Jazmine Cope, who recently passed away. She had leukemia. She was in choir with me, and she was always the happiest little girl. Her funeral was (Dec. 2). She was a great singer. She was always very supportive. She is always in the back of my head when I (perform) now.
The senior honors choir is performing at Carnegie Hall, right? The select group (The Concorde Vocal Ensemble) is going to be performing. I'm just part of the honors choir. Everyone's really excited.
What was your favorite show that you saw when you were younger? One of the first shows I saw was "Beauty and the Beast." I also saw "Cats" and "The Lion King." Once I got a little older, I started seeing the more mature things like "Little Shop of Horrors," "Legally Blonde (The Musical)" (and) "A Chorus Line." "Little Shop of Horrors" is probably one of my favorites. I really want to play Audrey some time in my life, because . . . it's a funny role and not many people see me in those funny kind of roles.
What was your most challenging role? I'd probably say either Brigitta in "The Sound of Music" or Belle in "Beauty and the Beast." With Brigitta, it was weird coming into (the high school). But it was kind of cool because we grew as a family as the show progressed almost as if it were the movie where they meet Maria and they all kind of bond. With Belle, it was hard. I was a freshman. I kind of got some grief for it (from people) saying I didn't deserve it. I think when it all ended that people realized that I did have the talent for it and could handle it. I hope I proved that.
I bet auditions can be competitive. What helps you get through? I have a lot of friend who aren't musical people, and I think that helps a lot because I'm not always caught up in that drama. I'm around people talking about sports or people talking about art club.
What do you want to do after high school? If I go for (a theater career), I need to go 100 percent and work on it. It's been a while since I've been in New York. Every time I see a show, it just kind of re-motivates me and re-inspires me to keep going. It's hard to know that so many people . . . have the same goals as me and don't get it. It kind of scares me.
What singers do you admire? Lea Michele on "Glee" is just amazing. (I also admire) Kristin Chenoweth . . . and Laura Bell Bundy who is Elle in "Legally Blonde (The Musical)." I like Taylor Swift a lot, but not necessarily that I want to sing like her or be like her. I really don't want to be the next anything. I kind of want to be my own person and not have to fill someone else's shoes.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
York County's Concorde Vocal Ensemble selected to sing at Carnegie Hall
The Concorde Vocal Ensemble of the York County Senior Honors Choir was one of two high school groups chosen from a nationwide competition to perform at the National High School Choral Festival on Feb. 13 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The group will perform "Requiem" by Hector Berlioz with members of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and the Orchestra of St. Luke's under the direction of Robert Spano.
The Concorde Vocal Ensemble is a community choir comprised of high school singers from 15 York County school districts and home-schooled students. The 43 members of Concorde were chosen by audition.
For details about The York County Honors Choir, visit www.honorschoir.com.
For details about the choral festival, visit www.carnegiehall.org.
OnlineTo find out more about The American Idol Experience, click on the Attractions tab at disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios.
Listen to the interview at www.flipsidepa.com.
Read more meet-the-artist interviews at www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.