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American Idol Auditions 2011: The Justin Bieber Effect

Posted by on January 27, 2011 at 1:00 PM EST

american idol justin bieberAmerican Idol 2011 auditions lowered the age to 15-years-old as a result of Justin Bieber’s success.

Last night’s new episode of American Idol took the crew to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and for the first time this season we got to see one of the new rules in full effect. Call it the Justin Bieber effect. With the enormous, world-wide success of Justin Bieber American Idol producers decided in the offseason that there might be more talent down there in the younger ages so they lowered the minimum age for auditioning to 15 and last night the 15-year-olds showed up in force. From the looks of it, there were pretty damn good too.

Check Out Our American Idol 2011 Coverage

Starting off the Bieber flood was 15-year-old Emma Henry. She and her family drove 16 hours from Colorado so that Emma could audition. Emma, who just got her permit, did most of the driving herself. When she got in front of the judges she was understandably a little nervous. She sang a version of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” and did a hell of a job at it. Her voice has a throaty, smoky quality that makes her stand out. Jennifer Lopez noticed it immediately saying that she has that something that sets her apart and that is what makes a star. When it came down to the votes Jennifer, while impressed with her, thought she was too young and not ready. She voted no. Steven Tyler saw that something different and thought she deserved a shot and said yes. But Randy Jackson wasn’t sure. He thought she might be too young, too fragile and that she would get swallowed up in it all.  He wanted her to get a little more work in and develop her skills. She broke down and told them this was what her life was about. Eventually, Jackson gave in and gave her a yes. She moved on.

And so opened the flood gates. Several more 15-year-olds came in and each was better than the last. A quick camera pan of those waiting in line found many of the 15 and 16-year-old guys sporting the Justin Bieber haircut.

Perhaps the best of the 15-year-olds was Thia Megia. Jennifer Lopez joked that she had a movie star name. She joked with the judges that she was watching Randy Jackson on American Idol since before she could read. She did a great version of Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” and all three judges loved her.

All in all it was a good night for youngsters.  How far any of these 15-year-olds will make it once they get to Hollywood is anybody’s guess.



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