Park City’s Austin Wolfe is enjoying her ‘American Idol’ experience
Ryan Summerlin February 8, 2014
After advancing to the Hollywood stage on the 13th season of "American Idol" last week, Park City’s Austin Wolfe didn’t know what to expect.
"I didn’t know what was going to happen," Wolfe told The Park Record. "I had heard it was really hard and I was going to end up staying up late and waking up really early. But I didn’t know what that meant until I got there and began living it."
When the 212 contestants arrived in California, they were escorted into an airplane hangar where they heard some shocking news. Some Golden-Ticket contestants needed to sing again, because they were the ones whom the three judges — Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez — were "on the fence about," explained Connick.
Ultimately, 104 hopefuls were sent home that day, but Wolfe wasn’t one of them. In her audition in Salt Lake City, the judges gave the 17-year-old Park City High School junior a coveted Golden Ticket after her rendition of Imagine Dragons’ "Radioactive."
There was no doubt the ticket was well-earned. Connick called her a "talented lady," and Urban praised her pitch.
Wolfe, on the other hand, just felt numb.
"It honestly didn’t feel real," Wolfe said with a laugh. "I sang in front of three huge names in the music industry and I felt like I was completely dreaming."
During Wednesday’s episode, Wolfe shined with a rendition of Adele’s "Take It All" and while her group performance wasn’t aired on Thursday, the judges still advanced her to the next round.
"I’m looking forward to go back out," she said. "I don’t know what more I can say about the next performances, but everything is so exciting."
One thing Wolfe knows is how much work it will take to get to the next level.
"The thing that I didn’t think about [when I went for this] was how much effort and time I would put into the competition," she said. "When I was younger, being on ‘American Idol’ was a just a dream I had. I didn’t think I was actually going to do it, but now being a part of it, it’s great to see all the stuff that goes into it."
Wolfe, who has performed at the Homestead and the summer concerts at Deer Valley, took voice lessons at the Utah Conservatory and has worked with award-winning singer and songwriter Mary Beth Maziarz.
In addition, the singer has trained with Mindy Pack and David Drockton from Impack Productions and is currently coached by Ann-Jeanette Nicholson.
"Each of my teachers have given me something different," Wolfe said. "The first ones taught me stage presence and how to sing out to an audience. The more recent ones have helped me with enunciating, hitting the high notes and expand my range."
Wolfe, the daughter of Scott and Anita Wolfe, also said she has been influenced by an array of singers.
"It’s hard to put out a few names, because I like different aspects from a lot of different artists," Wolfe said. "For example, I like Rhianna’s melodies and beats. I like Lorde’s melodies and Katy Perry’s stage presence. And I also like Jack Johnson and John Mayer."
Back in 2010, Wolfe was in seventh grade at Ecker Hill Middle School, and featured as an up-and-coming artist on Fox 13’s morning news. The segment focused on how to transform a young singer into a American Idol-worthy contestant.
Now she is one.
"It’s crazy to finally be old enough and have all the right opportunities to be part of the ‘American Idol’ experience," she said. "To be able to compete and go as far as I can is just amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
"I would love to say to anyone in Park City or anyone in general who are debating whether or not to go for their dreams that you should go for it," Wolfe said. "It will be totally worth it no matter what happens."