LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Thousands flocked to Walt Disney World Thursday to audition for "American Idol."
Hundreds of hopeful contestants rose before the sun to line up at Disney Springs two hours before registration was scheduled to begin.
Colton McCormick, 18, was among 30 people who auditioned last weekend for local judges, including Channel 9's Jorge Estevez, at Fun Spot America.
Only five people from that group were selected to skip the line at Thursday's audition.
"It was nerve-wracking," McCormick said. "Even if I hadn't won that day, I was just happy that I got picked out of the 30. It was just cool to get that far."
McCormick said he has played the guitar for six years and started singing in the last year. He hopes his baritone voice and his love for old country music will empower him to become the next American Idol.
"I kind of got just a different voice," he said. "When I started singing I wasn't that great, but a lot of people say, 'Hey, you sound good.'"
His father, Rick McCormick, said he bought his son's guitar with him at a garage sale. He said he'll always be his son's No. 1 fan.
"I am proud of him. I always have been," Rick McCormick said. "Whether he makes it to the top or doesn't make it at all, I am proud of him. He's my favorite."
Purple-haired songstress Vonabell from Pinellas County wowed the producers and moves on to the next round.
"I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude," Vonabell said.
Vonabell's dream to make it to "American Idol" almost didn't happen.
"I was dead two years ago. I have a very rare brain disorder where I was incapacitated for over two years and all my muscles had atrophy. I was bedridden and told that I was going to die and stay dead," Vonabell said.
Cassandra Ryan, who auditioned Thursday morning, didn't advance to the next round, but she doesn't regret trying out.
"It was a good experience. I liked it," she said. "There's always next time, though."
Ruben Studdard, the winning contestant of the show's second season, offered this advice to aspiring singers: "Always shoot for greatness. Never be OK with being just good."
Dwight Floy, of Clermont, stood in the heat and some rain to audition for the show producers.
"One of my New Year's resolutions was actually to do something with music. Everyone tells me that I have a great voice, so I decided to give it a try," Floy said.
Only 4,000 people were allowed to audition in Orlando.
Many walked away with a "No."
"I had fun. I didn't make it through today, but hey, it was a good experience," said Magdial Reyes.
Auditions ended at 5 p.m.
Paramedics were on standby in case the heat was too much to bear for those waiting to audition.
The next auditions are in Miami and Oakland, California.
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