Wednesday, January 31, 2007 , Updated 9:17 p.m., February 6, 2007
UPDATED: DFW native booted from American Idol days before Hollywood round
Akron Watson was given a "golden ticket" to Hollywood. Then days before he was set to fly to Los Angeles, an American Idol representative told him he had been kicked out of the competition. But they still haven't told Akron why.
UPDATE: Akron and his cousin both appeared on the February 6 episode of American Idol, and there was no mention of Akron not making it to Hollywood.
DFW native Akron Watson fondly remembers the day that he auditioned for American Idol - Season 6 in San Antonio. Although Randy didn’t like Akron’s singing, Paula and Simon both voted to give Akron a pass to the next round of auditions in Hollywood.
“I think that was like the triumph of my life,” remembers Akron.
Immediately following his greatest triumph, Akron received a phone call from one of the show’s producers. American Idol wanted to send a crew out to Akron’s DFW home to put together a feature about the young singer that could be used during the show. Akron was excited by the opportunity to share his background with the American Idol viewers, and tell everyone about the obstacles he had already overcome in his life.
“We talked about everything,” says Akron. And that included his days of skipping school, chasing girls, drinking, and even pleading guilty to possession of marijuana after a police officer found no more than a doobie’s worth of pot in his car. It also included the personal wakeup call Akron got when his brother died, and his dedication to being a good Christian from that day forth.
In the weeks after the crew came out to interview Akron, he received numerous e-mails from producers at American Idol with information regarding his trip to Hollywood for the next round of auditions. Naturally, Akron grew more and more excited by the opportunity to become the next American Idol as the Hollywood round neared. But then, less than a week before he was supposed to get on a plane headed for Los Angeles, Akron received a disturbing phone call from a representative of the show.
“I was supposed to leave that Monday, they called me on a Thursday,” explains Akron. “They said we’re not gonna let you go. And I asked ‘why?’ And he said ‘Well I’m not really sure’… and then he gave me some alternatives for what I should say to people if they asked why I was kicked off … He told me to tell people that I was now an alternate ... That would protect [me] and protect the show.”
One might guess that the pot bust would be the reason for Akron not making the show, but others have made it all the way to the finals with felony arrests. Besides, he told Idol all about his past when they sent a crew to interview him, so they obviously knew about that already.
Yesterday, I spoke twice with American Idol PR representative Alex Gillespie to see if the show had any official explanation for why Akron was not allowed to tryout in Hollywood. When I first talked to Gillespie, she told me that she would find out exactly what happened for me. Then when I spoke with her later in the day, she apologized and told me that the show would not ever be giving a reason for Akron’s elimination from the competition.
As the Fox network’s air-date for the American Idol San Antonio search nears, Akron Watson has no clue whether they will even show his audition on television. His dream has been taken from him. Worst of all, he still doesn’t know why and maybe never will.
If you'd like to show your support for Akron Watson, go leave him a comment on his brand new "Bring Ak Back" MySpace site