Striving to be the
American Idol

Former York College student auditions for competition

by Melanie Wilkinson
York News-Times

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler was so excited about Caleb Hawley’s talent, he nearly jumped over the “American Idol” judges’ table as he welcomed the former York College student to Hollywood.

Hawley, who was a student here several years ago and is now a resident of New York City, auditioned for the popular televised competition in New Jersey. The 25-year-old was the second person sent into the judges’ chambers for the 2011 season, appearing in the first episode Wednesday night.

While it’s a daunting thing to stand in front of Randy Jackson, a veteran judge on the long-running reality series, it was even more exciting this year as Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are now two of “the deciders.”

Hawley’s version of Ray Charles’ “Hallelujah I Love Her So” was animated and full of vocal range, as the longtime musician showed the judges what he’s got. Within seconds of starting the audition, he had Tyler keeping time on the desk and even injecting his own voice and harmony. At Hawley’s last note, Tyler threw his hand in the air and instantly proclaimed “Yes! Yes!” — obviously voting in favor of Hawley moving onto the next round in Hollywood where the competition is filmed.

Lopez and Jackson enthusiastically agreed, with Lopez even calling Hawley “cute.”

“You were so good!” Tyler told Hawley. “You’ve got the voice, the character . . . you’re something new, something different.”

Caleb Hawley, a former student at York College, was the second contestant to audition before the “American Idol” judges for the 2011 season of the popular talent search/competitive reality show. The 25-year-old musician was given unanimous approval to compete in Hollywood. The show aired Wednesday night on the FOX network.

Hawley was met by a throng of friends and family members, who were anxiously waiting in the hallway. “Idol” host, Ryan Seacrest, wasn’t far behind, offering Hawley a handshake and his congratulations.

“American Idol” is a nationwide talent search, as the Fox Network looks for the most exciting, young musical talents. After coast-to-coast auditions, the best of the best compete on a weekly basis in Hollywood and America votes on who should stay, who should go. When all is said and done, by the end of the spring, there will be one person left standing — that performer is proclaimed the American Idol, who gets a recording contract and ultimately a shot at a big time musical career.

Hawley, who recently performed a benefit concert at York College, said during an earlier interview that he’s thoroughly enjoying where music is taking him. He’s currently in the middle of a 13-state performance tour and is scheduled for a concert at York College on Feb. 14, followed by a booking in Omaha a day later. click here for pictures

Hawley told the News-Times Thursday morning that he isn’t allowed to discuss the American Idol process or his experience so far. The details of competitive reality shows are typically kept secret as filming is underway.

But his tone was certainly enthusiastic — almost as excited as he was after hearing he’d be among the chosen few on the American Idol stage.

“I’m going to Hollywood!” Hawley told the Fox filming crew. “I’m going to Hollywood!”

And as he does, the York community will be cheering him on.

*************

Hawley attended York College in 2003-2004 then went on to graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a degree in jazz composition. Hawley, whose music doesn’t really fit a genre, is best described as soulful. He resides in New York City with his wife Samantha and dog Fargo.

Hawley is the son of Dale and Vicki Hawley (YC Class of 1975 & 1974) of Hudson, Wisconsin, and the grandson of Monroe and Julia Hawley of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For more information or to hear samples of Caleb Hawley’s music, go to his website at calebhawley.com. Hawley’s Idol audition can also be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

 

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