The iconic blue American Idol bus drove into town on Aug. 23 and parked outside of the Macon City Auditorium.
Macon has a rich musical history — with people like Otis Redding and The Allman Brothers Band coming out of Macon — so it is no surprise to locals that the popular show chose this Middle Georgia town to find their next big star.
Cochran, Georgia, native Ashlynd Jolley was one of thousands who lined Cherry Street as early as 3 a.m. to sing their hearts out.
“Me, my brother and his girlfriend woke up really early on the day of the audition,” Jolley said. “I’ve always struggled with stage fright, so it took me a good while to even work up the courage to audition, but I’ve been singing since I was old enough to walk and my friends were always telling me to audition.”
Audition day can be stressful, and for Jolley, this was no exception.
“My nerves were super high,” Jolley said. “When I actually got in the building, it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it was going to be. I didn’t even know what I was going to be singing until I walked in.”
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of the American Idol audition process is meeting the judges.
“The judge and I didn’t even talk that much, and I can’t give any hints about a golden ticket. All I can say is keep watching to find out what happens,” Jolley said.
Some Middle Georgia hopefuls did make it past the first round of auditions, according to WGXA.
In the future, Jolley hopes to “keep working more gigs to get a little more comfortable singing in front of people” in order to work out all of her nerves.
The 18th season of American Idol is set to air in January 2020. When watching, look out for Jolley and other Macon locals who auditioned in one of music’s greatest cities.