Durham 23-Year-Old Sent To NYC as The Triangle’s American Idol

FOX50 Durham 23-Year-Old Sent To NYC as The Triangle’s American Idol

FOX50 American Idol winners
Chris Lewis of Durham (left) won the FOX50/MIX 101.5 American Idol contest. Christian Pearce of Apex (center) took 1st runner up & Justin Carteret of Hope Mills, 2nd runner up.
Line of American Idol hopefuls
The line of 600 began forming at 3am at the Cary Towne Center.

Judges included (l to r): Iatria Day Spa President, Ericka Mangrum; Barbizon Model & Talent Agency’s Teresa Womack; and Dick Hodgin & Ian Schreier from Osceola Recording Studios.

Six hundred hopefuls lined up outside Cary Towne Center for a shot at stardom on Saturday, August 16, 2003, when FOX50 hosted an audition for North Carolinians who want to be the next American Idol. Chris Lewis of Durham won the competition and a guaranteed audition in front of the American Idol 3 producers in New York City.

The line began forming around 3am for the 9am registration; the first 150 eligible contestants got the chance to sing for 60 seconds a cappella (without music) each in front of the crowd. All contestants had to be between the ages of 16-24 and had to be a permanent NC resident. The 150 took the stage in sets of ten and were whittled down to 15 finalists by the judges, one winner from each of the 15 groups.

The 23-year-old Lewis wowed the judges and the crowd with his version of “Unchained Melody.” As the grand prize winner he will receive roundtrip airfare for himself and a guest to New York City and hotel accommodations for his audition in front of the American Idol producers on August 25. He also got a makeover from Iatria Day Spa, a full model & acting scholarship from Barbizon and a full day of recording from Osceola Recording Studios.

Lewis sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at the Durham Bulls game against the Columbus Clippers the following night, Sunday, August 17, and is making his rounds on MIX 101.5 and on the WRAL 7am News on FOX50.

Although Lewis has his eye on super stardom, his “real” job is keeping him humble.An employee at Tripp’s Restaurant in Durham, Lewis had worked til 1am the night before the audition and came straight over to get in line. He was to report back to work at 5pm Saturday night but called in late when the finals stretched to begin 5:45pm. However, Tripp’s still needed him to report for duty after the audition, so after becoming the Triangle’s American Idol, he had to hustle to Durham for work; all this on no sleep and standing in line at the mall all day.

Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis wowed the judges.

The 15 finalists took the stage with Jim Kelly.

Another finalist sang well enough to make the top ten.

Christian Pearce, an 18-year-old from Apex, took first runner up, winning an Iatria gift certificate, a 50% modeling & talent scholarship to Barbizon, four tickets to Kings Dominion and two tickets to the Carolina Panthers game on August 29.

Christian Pearce
Pearce accepts her 1st runner up award.
Justin Carteret
Carteret sings his heart out & wins 2nd runner up.
Jim Kelly
MIX’s Jim Kelly emceed the daylong event.

Second place runner up went to 21-year-old Justin Carteret of Hope Mills. He won two tickets to Kings Dominion, a 50% modeling & talent scholarship to Barbizon and an Iatria gift bag.

Judges from Iatria Day Spa, Barbizon Model & Talent Agency and Osceola Recording Studios selected the winners.

Thanks to FOX50 Research Director Gerald Belton for these capcom photos.

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