By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Last month, Kenzie Palmer became the youngest contestant to advance to the Hollywood round of “American Idol.”
And although she was eliminated there last week, her dream of reaching Broadway is very much alive.
Palmer, 16 (she was 15 when she advanced), is a West Middlesex, Pa., resident who attends Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, a performing-arts high school in Midland, Pa. She devotes half the day there to lessons in singing, dance and theater.
Pursuing her goal makes for a long day. Kenzie wakes at 5 a.m. each day to get ready to catch a bus from New Wilmington, Pa., to her school, and doesn’t get home each night until 5 p.m.
She has been active in the New Castle Playhouse Mini-Stars troupe for five years. Last weekend, Palmer was the vocal accompanist for the Greenville (Pa.) Symphony Orchestra’s concert, and before that, she sang the national anthem at the start of a Pittsburgh Penguins game.
The daughter of Brad and Marsha Palmer, Kenzie first stepped onto a stage for a church production when she was 3 years old.
The whole “American Idol” experience was a very positive one for her. “I got support from people all around the world,” she said.
She auditioned in New Jersey, becoming one of just 200 to get the green light out of 17,000.
Her first televised appearance on “Idol” came Jan. 19. Judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson were impressed but not enough to let her advance. However, judge Jennifer Lopez was wowed and swayed her cohorts, making Palmer the youngest “Idol” contestant to advance to the Hollywood round.
Palmer was cut in the Hollywood round last week. Her performance, which was part of a group, did not appear on the show.
Why did she get cut? “The judges didn’t give us much feedback,” she told The Vindicator. “After our group sang, they all said, ‘You did really, really good’, but two of us were sent home, and the other two went through.”
Palmer said she’ll continue to shoot for a career in musical theater, maybe by way of Nashville. The talented teen said she would like to become a country singer and sees it as a route to the Broadway stage.