Teen joins two other Kentucky natives seeking American Idol title

Published 5:24 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

Alyssa Wray’s first time on an airplane was to Ojai, California, for her American Idol audition in November. Now, she’s a contestant this season on American Idol on ABC.

She had a Zoom audition beforehand and was invited to Ojai to audition in front of the judges. She was there for about five days, got to rehearse with her pianist before her audition, and on her last day there, she performed for the judges. She said in the days leading up to her audition, she was very nervous, and her mom, who was there with her, helped calm her down. She was dealing with a lot of emotions because “That could potentially change my life — the audition.”

“Then when I walked into the room, I kind of lost all the nerves for some reason, and it was kind of weird,” she said. “I thought I was going to be nervous about my audition, but I wasn’t. I just felt right at home. I just felt super comfortable, like that was what I was meant to be doing.”

Wray said her mom, Tabitha Blackwell, likes to tell people she remembers bringing Wray home from the hospital after she was born and watching the first season of American Idol. Wray is currently a freshman at Northern Kentucky University studying musical theater.

Wray is pictured with her mother, Tabitha Blackwell. – ABC/Christopher Willard
As for Wray’s most poignant memories of watching the show as a kid, her “nana” picked her up from church on Wednesdays when she was about 9 or 10 — American Idol audition episodes used to air on Wednesdays and Thursdays — and would get her Wendy’s. Wray would get in bed with her mom, who was about to go to sleep, and watch American Idol in bed.

She’d watch the episodes and the next day, she’d sing the songs herself and choreograph movements to go along with the songs, putting on a performance. Already, she said she knew  American Idol was something she was “supposed to do.” Wray one day hopes to be on Broadway.