On the edge of glory

Hundreds of hopefuls line up outside the North Charleston Coliseum on Wednesday to get a chance to audition for a spot on the singing reality show “American Idol.”

Only one more day and "American Idol" hopefuls can sing their hearts out, hoping to be the next Scotty McCreery or Kelly Clarkson.

They can stand in the North Charleston Coliseum with their hearts in their throats, hoping their voices still work.

For anyone still thinking about trying out, you can get a wristband and a ticket at the Coliseum until 8 a.m. Friday, but bring two forms of ID. Those who wait that late, though, risk not getting a chance to try out.

Idol hopefuls started lining up about 11 p.m. Tuesday, hoping to get to the front of the line. The closer to the start, the more likely the first set of judges will get a chance to hear them. By 8 a.m. Wednesday, several thousand people stretched around the parking lot.

Natasha Akery, 24, of Charleston, found comfort in having so many singers around her. She said she thought it would be more competitive, but the group that trickled in around 4:30 a.m. with her was really supportive of each other. She had an idea of what she doesn't want to sing.

"There's stuff on the radio these days that you can't listen to with kids," she said. Akery hates the sex and violence that she hears so often. She wants to sing good music. She's in her church's rock band. She has sung at places like the Village Tavern and Kudu Coffee, but she hasn't chosen her song yet. She said she'll wait to see who is in the room.

"I don't know if I'm ready for this. They seem to like a clear voice and mine is more like an indie sound," she said.

Stevey Light had a front-of-the-line pass and a sunflower in her hair. The 21-year-old is hoping for a breakthrough in Charleston. She already auditioned in Pittsburgh and said she made it pretty far, but not far enough. She said the judges didn't like her song. This time she hopes "Paris" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals will suit her voice better.

Danny Fulton has a deep voice, like McCreery, but added "mine's better." He's stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort as an air traffic controller tech. But in his off time, he's been practicing by going to karaoke bars.

Wednesday also was a day for the show's producers to get footage that will be cut into the TV show when it airs the auditions from Charleston. The cameramen from the show egged contestants on, and Taylen Cook of Athens, Ga., got the message. He sang while doing a handstand. After six tries, he performed for the shot just right, shouting "Welcome back, American Idol" -- feet in the air, with a crowd behind him saying the same thing. Even if he can't sing that way, he's hoping to get on air.

Callie Roney, 17, was there with her dad, Bryan, and her guitar. They had come in from Helena, Ala., and her father has to stay with her every step of the way according to Idol rules. He's just fine with that.

"We had that question about what we would do if she actually succeeds," her father said. "I'm not ready as a parent to give her up but ..."

Roney plans to sing "Walking after Midnight" by Patsy Cline. She's pretty philosophical about the audition. If she doesn't make it, she said, she'll finish her senior year of high school. And then there's always next year.

Once auditioners got the coveted ticket and wristband, they were off for the rest of the day. They have to leave the wristband on, or that voids their place in line. No trading of the wristband or selling it. And if you forget the ticket, it's back to the end of the line.

About an hour after entering the Coliseum, the first group had a packet of information. And oh yes, they had to learn Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" for a group sing on Friday.

Don't know it? How do you learn it fast? Kelsey Poe said to another contestant, "Just YouTube it."

Contestants will enter the North Charleston Coliseum starting at 8 a.m., with everyone expected to be inside by 9 a.m. One person who is registered with the contestant is allowed to enter, too.

Legal papers are checked.

There is a group sing: Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory."

Then groups of four go in front of the judges and sing a cappella.

For those who pass this round, there will be another round of auditions to pass, too, also in Charleston.

The stars won't appear in Charleston until sometime in October for the final auditions.

For more rules and information, go to americanidol.com.