American Idol is on its last leg, promising to end its run with the fifteenth and final upcoming season, and they’re looking to go out with a bang. A show that once dominated the entire American cultural from TV to the music charts has fallen on hard times and tough ratings as shows like The Voice and others have moved into the Reality TV competition space and gobbled up viewers.
But American Idol is not going down without a fight, and is looking to field their strongest roster of participants yet. No stone is being left unturned apparently, and they’ve even resorted to reaching out to some quite unusual individuals with special VIP invitations for private tryouts, proving just how clueless the show’s talent scouts are, while also offering an interesting insight into how they actually find contestants. Not since Jason Isbell was asked to try out for The Voice have we seen such a ridiculous scenario unfold from a reality show.
The first to get solicited was Austin, TX’s producer and musician extraordinaire Gurf Morlix. Though Gurf may not be a household name outside of his native environs of Austin, TX, if you’ve heard albums from Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wylie Hubbard and others, then you’ve heard Gurf in one capacity or another. The multi-instrumentalist has also released nine solo albums over his career, including the recent Eatin’ At Me. Gurf is known as a musician’s musician, and is revered throughout the roots industry.
On September 23rd, Gurf received an email soliciting him for a special VIP chance to audition for American Idol.
Thought you might be interested in this:
We are in the final week of casting for our final
VIP audition for the final season of American Idol!
Whether he was interested or not, the problem came in the next paragraph:
We are looking for singers and artists of all
styles, male and female, ages 15 to 28. These VIP
auditions are for ‘industry and personal
referrals’ only, NOT for the general public!
Gurf Morlix is 64-years-old. The email continues,
Here’s how you can audition:
1. Please shoot a 90 sec video clip of yourself
singing an acapella or acoustic (guitar or piano
accompany only), mid to up tempo current cover
2. Upload it to YouTube and mark unlisted. DO NOT
send any downloads!!!
3. For details on where to submit, visit:
*** IMPORTANT ***
Please follow the instructions above.
It was all good for a quick laugh, imagining the 64-year-old Gurf Morlix auditioning for American Idol. Billboard even ran a story on the strange VIP invitation. But Gurf is not alone apparently.
Kevin Sekhani of Lafayette, Louisiana—the frontman for the Louisiana-based old-time tent revival and rowdy honky tonk band The Mercy Brothers—has also received the very same invitation. And just like Gurf, he’s a little too old to qualify.
These special VIP invitations are coming from American Idol directly, but a company representing American Idol called Tami B Casting. Tami Brandel boasts that she is the “real casting director of Hollywood,” and also casts for other reality shows such as Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Hell’s Kitchen. It’s through such agencies that contestants are put at the front of the line for auditions, while the throngs of people who show up to the publicized auditions are mostly for show.
It’s just a shame Gurf Morlix and Kevin Sekhani don’t qualify. It would give the rest of us a reason to tune in.
UPDATE: LA-Based musician Grant Langston has also been invited to audition.