CSULB student loses shot at ‘Idol’ fame

Cal State Long Beach junior journalism major Heather Youmans’ final moment in the “American Idol” spotlight aired Wednesday night during the singing competition’s first round of Hollywood auditions.

Youmans, 19, was shown singing Heart’s “Crazy on You” and receiving sour faces from the judges in response to an off-key note.

“That song choice is at the peak of my vocal ability,” she said. “[It] was very gutsy.”

Despite Youmans’ professional experience on movie soundtracks and in musical theatre, she said nothing could prepare her for Hollywood Week.

“When you’re in the music business, not reality TV business, you are surrounded by band members and people in the studio who want you to do well,” she said. “You don’t have that band or the support of people [in a reality competition]. Everybody there is competing against you, and they all want you to do poorly.”

She said the edited footage wasn’t an accurate representation of the judges’ reactions.

“They’ll cut and paste the looks … But I know it’s for the entertainment sake of it all, which is fine,” Youmans said.

Still, she said she’s not ashamed of the footage.

“Yeah, it sucks,” she said. “Everybody has a bad day. Yeah, it’s unfortunate that they showed me having a bad day, but what can you do?”

Youmans first impressed the judges at the San Diego auditions with her rendition of Carole King’s “Some Kind of Wonderful.” In regards to the clip shown of her singing off-key, Youmans said the people who know her still know what she is capable of.

“Listening to somebody’s voice for 10 seconds and trying to establish who they are as a singer is like trying to get a rocket scientist to explain his life’s work in 10 seconds,” Youmans said. “That will never happen.”

Before her elimination, Youmans said other contestants were asking her to be in their groups for the next round.

“They heard me practicing in my hotel,” she said. “So all my other peers were expecting me to get through. It was a shocker. But it was all due to nerves, 100 percent.”

She said, for a lot of contestants, it was their second, third or fourth time in Hollywood, and they became less nervous each time they tried out.

“The only way that you can conquer nerves is by being in a situation like that all the time — a reality TV situation like that,” she said. “That was my first time being in that environment, even though I’ve performed a lot.”

She said that, in the end, the ones left are the ones who can take the pressure of the situation.

“Success really depends on how you take rejection,” she said. “It’s a fact of life in the entertainment industry … I have a thick skin and I take each dip in the road as a reason to work hard and blow everybody’s mind.”

Still, Youmans said she’s grateful that a million people now know her name.

“On YouTube, my plays and likes have been going up,” she said. “People are realizing [the clip] was an inaccurate representation.”

When asked if she would try out for “Idol” again, Youmans said she was initially opposed to the idea, but has now decided that she’ll know if it’s the right decision for her when the time comes.

“Getting cut is not going to stop me from pursuing music like I always have,” she said.

For now, Youmans plans on performing around Los Angeles with her boyfriend and guitarist Jon MacLennan. She also said there’s been talks with producers for possible movie soundtracks in the future.

For updates and information on Youmans’ future projects, visit


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