Posted: Friday, February 18, 2011 12:00 am
By DAVID TAYLOR |
They say three times is a charm. It was for a local Huffman woman who auditioned for her third time for “American Idol,” but this time she received the thumbs up to advance and now she’s headed to Hollywood. While Wendy Taylor is prohibited by the show from releasing many of the details, she was willing to sit down with The Observer, her hometown newspaper, and talk about her experiences so far. She talked briefly about her first two appearances.
“They were complimentary and told me they thought I was very professional and a great singer, but I just wasn’t what they were looking for at the time,” she said. While she was disappointed and discouraged, she didn’t give up her dream.
Recently she traveled to Austin for the “Idol” auditions and found a different outcome.
“They really liked me. The entire experience so far has been better than anything I could ever imagine,” she said. “The whole staff, everyone that works at ‘Idol’ has been so much fun. It’s like a room full of love,” she smiled.
The auditions are brutal. Most often, singers only get 15 to 30 seconds to showcase their talent. “I sang ‘Sober’ by Pink and then they asked me to sing another song and I sang ‘I’m the Only One’ by Melissa Etheridge,” Taylor said.
The judges loved her and invited her to Hollywood. “I was completely myself and hoped they would like my chops. Steven Tyler was a trip,” she said. “All three of them gave me great compliments and were kind.” The days following the audition have been a whirlwind for the mother of three.
She’s made appearances on “Access Hollywood” (three times), been on the front page of TMZ and has also been interviewed by numerous papers and Fox 26 News in Houston.
In the midst of all of the attention, she suffered a temporary setback when a fire forced her and her three boys and pets from the family home.
“It was devastating,” she said. “Now I live with my parents until the home can be redone.”
Taylor said the structure of the house can be replaced, but all of her memories and belongings she had accumulated may take years to overcome. It’s nothing compared to the battle with brain cancer that one of her supporters received as a diagnosis.
“Alexia was diagnosed with cancer and I used to visit her at the hospital and she would sing along to my CD,” Taylor said fondly.
Taylor said when Alexia died, she felt like it was the first time she had ever failed.
“I know it wasn’t me, but I just wanted her to be able to survive,” she said tearfully.
Taylor dedicated her performance at ‘Idol’ to Alexia and her three boys.
Singing has come naturally for Taylor. “I think I was singing before I could talk,” she laughed.
She’s been performing since she slipped on a pair of ballet shoes at 3 years old.
“I haven’t left the stage since. I caught the bug and I’ve never left.” She says her talent began to get recognized as early as 5 years old. “I’ve been singing for a long time and I love it.
“What makes me unique is I’m a redhead and we’re kind of like unicorns — rare,” she laughed.
The little redhead grew up in Huffman attending Ben Bowen, Copeland, Huffman Middle School and Hargrave High School.
Her love for music began early.
“I grew up listening to classic rock when I would ride around with my dad,” she said. The first CD she ever stole from them was “Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits,” she admitted. “Growing up in church, we had a really great children’s choir at the First Baptist Church in Huffman,” she said.
“It was an awesome program. We had a lot of really good singers in there. Michael Douglas was the choir director and he was phenomenal. He took us to a lot of neat places and we got to do a lot of amazing things.”
She made her mark on the gridiron too.
“I was the first girl to play football on my seventh- and eighth-grade team,” she said proudly. She said she learned then how to be mentally and physically tough early on.
Her freshman year, she tried out and became the mascot.
“I loved being the mascot, but I really didn’t like the cheerleader thing. I’m not a girly girl,” she laughed.
All the while, she was singing.
Read Part II about Wendy Taylor in next week’s edition of The Observer.