By Sandra McNeill

DETROIT (WWJ) – They’re all hoping for their one big shot — to make it to Hollywood. About 5,000 people showed up at Ford Field Saturday morning for their chance to make it onto American Idol, one of television’s biggest singing competitions.

Detroiter Sierra Branch was the first person in line.

“I’ve been here actually since Wednesday night, so I’ve been waiting about a total of three days,” she told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “I feel like anything is worth a try, so you can’t knock it until you come out.”

PHOTOS: American Idol Auditions In Detroit

Sarah Smiles, of Detroit, wasn’t far behind.

“I’ve been here since around 11:30 p.m. yesterday. I did not sleep, I haven’t slept since six o’clock yesterday morning,” she said.

Far, far away from Branch and Smiles was Lawrence Lewis, of Hazel Park, holding down the end of the line.

“There’s a lot of competition but I’m ready for it though. I’m going to Hollywood,” he said.

Seventeen-year-old Lewis Reed, of Detroit, was belting out songs with friends and trying to pump out the crowd to help cope with the wait to get in the door.

“We are the happiest people right here, come on now,” he said of the cheering crowd. “We’ve been out here since 3 a.m. and everything.”

Sixteen-year-old Paris Primeau, of Macomb Township, said she couldn’t remember the last time Idol stopped in Detroit — and that could be because it was a whole decade ago.

“I had no idea they were even here when I was five because I started watching the show when I was seven. So, from then on I was like ‘Oh, I hope they come here,’ and they never did. But they are now,” she said.

Samantha Villarreal, of Dearborn, said she didn’t even care that judges haven’t been picked out for the upcoming season, she’s just excited to take a leap of faith.

“I just figured that I’ve always loved to sing, so why not just come and take a shot. I think that’s why a lot of people are here right now, it’s just like, we’re risk takers and you never know what can happen,” she said.

Others, like 31-year-old Jermaine Mitchell, didn’t have much of a chance — the age limit cut-off is 28-years-old.

“I don’t sing, but I do a little bit of modeling and that’s what I’m here for. Just wanted the exposure,” he said.

Partick Lin, one of the show’s senior producer, said he was blown away by all the talent in the crowd. So, why did Idol wait so long to come back to Detroit?

“You know what? I don’t have a good answer to that question. I mean, we should have been back earlier, we would have had a crowd like this,” he said.

The hopefuls will be back in Detroit on Sunday for their actual auditions, where they hope to punch their ticket to Hollywood. The audition episode filmed in Detroit will air in January.


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