Provo • Caden Humphrey was stuck outside in the rain Tuesday night, but the chance to audition for “American Idol” made it worth getting wet.
“I grew up on ‘American Idol,’” said the 20-year-old Utah Valley University student from Alpine. “The season I watched the most growing up was when David Archuleta was on. I just thought it was cool that a fellow Mormon was on the show.”
Humphrey showed up at the Utah County Courthouse in Provo at 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday and was first in line to audition Wednesday morning, although he was keeping his expectations in check.
“It’s a hobby. I sing in the shower,” he said. “I live six blocks from here, so I thought I had to give it a try.”
And he made sure he was first in line because he was scheduled to work at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
“That’s why I showed up early,” Humphrey said. “That’s why I stayed overnight, so I could make it to work.”
He didn’t make it through to the next round with his audition, but he did make it to work. “And it was worth it,” he said. “I had fun.”
Wednesday marked the third time “Idol” auditions have come to Utah — the first since the show left Fox in 2016. ABC is reviving the singing competition; it will debut on that network in early 2018.
Thousands and thousands of hopefuls turned out for auditions at what is now Vivint Smart Home Arena in 2008, just after Archuleta finished second in Season 7 — and the crowd was beyond enthusiastic. A few thousand turned up at the same site in 2013, when things had calmed considerably.
It was a largely quiet, orderly scene with maybe a thousand or so in line in Provo when auditions began at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, with more straggling in. That’s due, perhaps, to the fact that there are many more audition sites than in past seasons.
“It’s still pretty much the same process,” said casting producer Nancy Yearing. “We are hitting up way more cities than we have in the past.”
And different cities — like Provo instead of Salt Lake City.
“Honestly, I think there’s a cool music scene happening here in Provo,” Yearing said. “And we just wanted to change it up.”
Hopefuls auditioned for producers Wednesday; those who advanced to the next round will be “funneled to whatever city works best for them,” Yearing said.
Most, but not all, of those auditioning were Utahns. Hunter Widvey and her father, Brett, drove 11 hours from South Dakota because the Provo audition was the closest to her home.
“Well, it was,” said the 18-year-old. “But the day that we were leaving they announced that auditions are going to be in my town, too.”
The “Idol” audition tour added several cities — including Rapid City, S.D.
“We were like, ‘Aw, heck. We’ll just go to Provo anyway,’” Brett Widvey said.
They arrived at 1 a.m. Wednesday and had to look for a motel room because the one they reserved had been given away at midnight. Widvey has watched the show most of her life and auditioned in Denver the last time around.
“She’s probably watched every show five times,” Brett said.
Twins Chris and Coby Oram, 19, drove from St. George in hopes of auditioning together.
“We’re going to walk up there and be, like, ’Listen, we prepared a duet,‘” Chris said. “We have zero expectations as to whether or not they’re going to let us do that.”
They’re veterans of choirs, choruses, a cappella groups and musicals in high school and at Brigham Young University, and they hoped to harmonize on Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.”
“We wrote our own harmonies to it,” Coby said.
Kamryn Rose drove from Springville to spend part of her birthday standing in line with her 17-year-old daughter, KC, and it was tough to tell who was more excited.
“KC turns 18 on Friday, so it’s our lucky week, we hope,” Kamryn Rose said.
Trying out for “American Idol” was KC’s idea, however; she said she’s been watching the show since she was 5.
“Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to audition. If someone told the young me I was going to audition today, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said KC Rose, who sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Most of those in line in Provo had never auditioned for “Idol” before, and Yearing said that’s been the case in other cities.
“We’re seeing a lot of new faces — people that have never auditioned before,” she said. “And I think that is because these kids grew up watching this show. This is the music industry to them.”
From 2002 to 2016, “American Idol” became a TV institution.
Kamryn and her daughter “watched the show together all the time,” she said. “We would laugh at Simon [Cowell] and all the funny things he’d say. It was like a family tradition.
“I’m so glad they decided to bring it back. It’s the American dream.”