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Alumna sings her way to Hollywood

Photo by: Henoc Kivuye


An alumna had the opportunity to use her past talents as Spring Sing hostess and Summer Singer to go to Hollywood for “American Idol.”

Hallie Hilburn, who graduated in 2008 and currently lives in Texas, heard “American Idol” was hosting auditions in the Oklahoma City area and decided to give it a try.

“It was just on a whim,” Hilburn said. “It was close and so I decided to go.”

Hilburn made it past the initial round of judges and on to the first round of Hollywood Week.

“The group of 10 [in the first round of Hollywood week] was pretty intense,” Hilburn said. “There was a girl that sang the same song as I did. That was a little nerve racking.”

Hilburn was sent home during last night’s episode.

“It was a little disappointing,” Hilburn said. “It would be for anyone. However, I had never even expected to get where I got. It was upsetting but the experience was too good for it to really get me down, and now that they’ve aired the audition, they’ve opened up a ton of doors for me and given me opportunities.”

Hilburn’s audition before the judges was seen as very unique since she included her ventriloquist puppet Oscar.

“It was difficult to meet the judges because I had a puppet,” Hilburn said. “Even though they laughed, I had to buck it up and do what I knew I needed to do.”

Junior Julianne Stinson enjoyed watching Hilburn’s audition on television.

“I thought she could sing, and I thought the little puppet thing was impressive,” Stinson said. “It sounded good, and it was memorable.”

Hilburn believes that her experiences during her time at Oklahoma Christian, such as being in Summer Singers and hosting Spring Sing, helped to prepare her for “American Idol.”

“Those experiences not only helped me with my confidence but also for just the experience of being on stage with a band and learning all the ins and outs of performing,” Hilburn said. “It’s so much different then singing karaoke or at a banquet.”

Hilburn describes her time in Summer Singers as one of the best times of her life.

“Getting to travel with a bunch of boys in a van was awesome,” Hilburn said. “It was great to be in a group like that and get to do all the camps and meet the kids there.”

One of Hilburn’s fondest memories of Summer Singers is a good indication of her personality.

“We literally traveled across the country,” Hilburn said. “One time we were driving through Tennessee, and we were stuck in traffic for three hours. We carried a gorilla suit around with us, and so I put it on and ran through the standstill traffic in the suit. I think that sums up who I am. I like to have fun and make people laugh.”

Hilburn also talked about the opportunity to host Spring Sing.

“Even though our school is a little smaller, it can really open up doors for people, either for their confidence level or to pursue music,” Hilburn said.

Senior Joshua McCoy was proud to see a graduate of Oklahoma Christian take the stage on one of his favorite singing competitions.

“It’s awesome when our community has a representative on such a huge show,” McCoy said. “She has a personality that will capture people’s attention.”

Hilburn is extremely thankful for her opportunity on “American Idol.”

“It has been amazing,” Hilburn said. “I never expected for it to blow up like it did on the Internet. Fans have come out of the woodworks. It has given me a jumpstart to keep doing music.”

She now hopes to be able to continue to pursue music.

“I write my own music, and I just recently started taking guitar lessons,” Hilburn said. “My brother-in-law went to Oklahoma Christian as well, and we have been playing together since the eighth grade. We want to keep playing and writing together. Hopefully America hasn’t seen the last of me.”

Senior Eric Alberts connected with Hilburn during his time hosting Spring Sing in 2011.

“I had watched a DVD of Hallie hosting Spring Sing, and I Facebook messaged her to tell her she was really good,” Alberts said. “She was really nice and encouraging and wished me good luck. You could tell she was really fun and down to earth.”

Alberts said he thinks that Hilburn will end up going far with her music career.

“I think she has a shot at getting a record deal,” Alberts said. “She has a lot of experience and has done professional stuff. I think she has a shot of becoming a professional singer.”

Hilburn learned a few things through her experience with “American Idol.”

“I think people sometimes make auditions out to be harder than they have to be,” Hilburn said. “Something that I’ve learned through ‘American Idol’ is to not compare myself to anyone else. There is always going to be someone better then you are. I think people need to have confidence in themselves.”

Hilburn says it is most important to be true to yourself in any sort of audition.

“It would be a shame to try to change yourself into what you think they’re looking for,” Hilburn said. “If you aren’t true to yourself, what can you really stand for? Always let your personality shine through.”

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