Former Marion Homecoming Queen Earns American Idol Ticket
Alisabeth Von Presley, a Marion native, and Gabe Brown, a Marion resident, passed auditions and earned a "golden ticket" to Hollywood on the Fox TV show in which contestants battle to show they have the best singing voice.
A former Marion High School homecoming queen's voice recently earned her a golden ticket to American Idol.
Alisabeth Von Presley, 26, who now lives in Cedar Rapids, made the cut for season 12 of American Idol, along with Marion resident Gabe Brown after auditioning in September. Though her confidentiality agreement with American Idol initially prevented her from going public, Von Presley is now sharing the good news.
"Keeping it a secret was very difficult," she said.
Von Presley, a big Michael Jackson fan, decided to audition for American Idol when her mom encouraged her. The show planned a small bus tour, visiting cities in the nooks and crannies of the country rather than just major cities. This made travel easier. So, she auditioned in Iowa City when the bus tour arrived.
To make the cut for “Hollywood Week,” Von Presley nailed 3 auditions before singing for season twelve’s celebrity judge panel, including Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, and Mariah Carey. When she faced the judges, she said Minaj and Jackson immediately complimented her tattoos — one of Elvis Presley and one of Barbie — which put her at ease. She sang “I See a River,” from the musical Urinetown, and Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” because she was familiar with the songs.
“I have performed both of these in live situations before, so I felt a certain comfort in the tunes,” Von Presley said in an email.
She said the judges told her they liked the sound of her voice in a low register, and appreciated that she didn’t try to sound like the artists of the songs. She also added Randy Jackson used the term “dawg,” a word he’s wont to use on the show, several times during her audition.
Von Presley said her contract prevents her from sharing her next move in the show. According to American Idol’s website, the final audition-centric episode will air on January thirty-first. “Hollywood Week” comes after the auditions. The show airs at 7 p.m. central time on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Von Presley graduated from Marion High School in 2005 and later choreographed for Linn-Mar high school’s show choir and dance team. She said most of her family lives here, adding she enjoyed growing up in Marion’s not-too-small, but not-too-big community.
She now coaches and choreographs at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids and owns a photography studio. She said she’s a random person who loves to eat peanut butter, dye her hair “crazy colors,” and play the board game Candy Land.
The Gazette reported that Gabe Brown, also from Marion, auditioned for the show in Iowa City and earned a ticket to “Hollywood Week.”
Brown is the lead singer of a local cover band called Helforsout, and sang an a cappella version of “Gimme Shelter,” by the Rolling Stones, for American Idol’s judges, the Gazette reports.