It's a story making waves across Canada: Weyburn's own Brayden King is heading to Hollywood for American Idol.
What's not common knowledge is that not only did he audition before judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie a full six months ago, but the producers had originally reached out to him requesting an audition in 2021.
He was only able to share his news with the public on Monday.
"I had to sit on the news for a really long time. Like, uncomfortably long. I auditioned in September of 2022," he told Discover Weyburn. "I went down to Las Vegas, and that actually wasn't even the first audition I did, because for American Idol, you have to do all these virtual auditions, and they reached out to me after seeing my TikTok in 2021, and I did a virtual audition then."
He said they almost flew him down to do auditions that year, "but since I'm Canadian, it didn't work out getting my work visa quick enough so they said, 'okay, we'll loop back around for 2022', and sure enough they reached out really early. I did a couple more Zoom auditions, and after a few of those, I finally got to the executive producer that said that she wanted to fly me down to do my audition in Vegas."
The audition involved a good five minutes of conversation, he noted, prior to getting to the singing.
"So that's really cool to get comfortable with them before singing. But the one thing you don't expect is the 60 or 70 producers and cameras that are in the room with you at the time, like it is so intimidating and weird and not what I expected at all."
King said it was also weird that the judges were mic'd and amplified, yet the singers are not even given monitors.
"I sang my song 'Down That Road', my original song, and they loved it, and Luke kind of commented that it sounded a bit like Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton, which is very much what I was going for on that song."
"When he said Ed Sheeran, Katy said, 'do you know any Ed Sheeran?' And I was like, 'yeah'. And she's like, 'can you sing some of that?' And I sang a song that I pulled out of my vault, like I hadn't sang it for three or four years or something, 'Give Me Love' by Ed Sheeran. And after I sang that, they gave me some tips of things to work on, but they really liked my versatility," he said.
"Basically, Lionel said that he wants to join the fan club and he's like, 'I want to give you a yes," King shared. "Then they brought my dad into the room and they got him all excited. And Katy is like, 'we gave your son a yes, already. Well, Lionel did. And I want to give him a yes.'
He said the judges also expressed their deepest condolences for the loss of his mother, Lana, "which was very, very kind, and it was just a special moment."
Then came the third and final yes from Luke.
"And they all yelled that, 'You're going to Hollywood!' and I went and grabbed that golden ticket. So yeah, it was pretty crazy."
He said he was confident going into the audition, but he got really nervous when they asked him to sing the second song.
"I just had to kind of ground myself and remember that they're still people too, like, even though they're celebrities and they're incredible singers and they're famous, they are still people, and these are just cameras. I've sang in front of cameras and everything like that, but it was definitely a much different performance experience than I've ever had."
King's impression of the celebrity judges is that they were very kind.
"Especially considering how long of days those celebrities have to be working during auditions, like five days of auditions in Las Vegas, 14-hour days or something like that. So it's like very, very intense for them. But they were very receptive of me, which was the best thing I could ask for."
While his audition will not make it to air, he is happy he has the pictures and memories of the experience.
"I'm just happy to be part of it, honestly. We're going to see how far I can go with it. There's a lot of great talent in this season, and Hollywood week starts this week, so we'll see how things unfold very quickly."
Hollywood week, he noted, is an intense week, but he's excited and looking forward to it, as it will avail a great deal of exposure for his music.
"Any sort of exposure with or without American Idol will be great, like even just the exposure that I've gotten from posting that I've got a golden ticket is giant, and if that's all that ever comes of it, I'm okay with that because I'm happy with my career," he commented.
"They very much promote and accept artists and allow us to do sing our own songs, which is great. I was very thankful to be able to sing an original for the judges."
He added he'll be able to share more about his progress as the episodes air.
Listen to the full interview: