When he was 3 years old, Nick Rogers' mom taught him to sing “You Are My Sunshine.” In the first grade, he sang in his first talent show. By high school, he had performed in 30 theater productions.
“If I walk into the house and I don't hear Nick singing,” Nick's father, Will Rogers, said, “then I know I'm in the wrong house.”
Now the senior at Mountain Vista High School is in his biggest spotlight yet. Rogers is one of dozens of people from across the United States vying for fame on season 17 of "American Idol." The 17-year-old is the youngest of his audition group, comprising 12 people from five states.
Rogers, who has loved singing for as long as he can remember, describes the experience as "insane," "breathtaking" — the greatest time of his life.
“Everything that I heard about Hollywood, about people being cold and hard on you, that all went out the window,” Rogers said. “I'm hoping that it sets up many more opportunities for the future.”
Rogers' audition that landed him a golden ticket to Hollywood — for the second round of the show — aired on ABC March 3. He impressed judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryant with a remixed rap version of the pop hit “Mine” by artist Bazzi.
He also humored judges when he confessed to idolizing Lionel Richie but failed to name a single one of his songs.
“It caught me off guard,” Rogers said. “I knew who he was, but because I'm young, I didn't really know anything about his music.”
Hollywood week, the next round of American Idol, starts at 8 p.m. March 24.
Rogers is one of three kids to Will and Paige Rogers. His older brother Liam is studying film at the University of Colorado Denver. His younger sister Ava is a sophomore at Mountain Vista High School.
Paige said of her family's outlook on Rogers' stardom: “They are loving it.”
Rogers got into rapping in 2008. The next year he was writing his own songs. His inspiration, he said, is Mac Miller, a Pittsburgh-bred rapper, singer and record producer who died from an accidental overdose in 2018.
“He was the same kind of kid from the school system who wanted to pursue music,” Rogers said.
In 2017, Rogers' mom saw that auditions for "American Idol" would be held in Denver. The avid fans often watch the show together. Rogers ended up being sick that day and didn't make it past the preliminary round.
“I've watched it since day one and always thought, my son should try this,” Paige said. “He was glad he went because he got the experience.”
Rogers got another chance the following year.
In October 2018, with little time to prepare, Paige drove her son to the Convention Center in downtown Denver for auditions starting at 6 a.m. He stood in line with 700 to 800 people. Nearly 12 hours later, Rogers was picked as one of four people to make it to the next round.
In November, he and his family were flown to Hollywood for a week, where he was granted a golden ticket.
“I had been working for it for so long,” Rogers said. “I was so excited.”
While Rogers' fate on the show has yet to unfold, he has big plans for his future. After he graduates from high school, he wants to move to Los Angeles with his best friend to pursue a career in singing or acting.
“While I have the time, while I'm young,” Rogers said, “I'm going to try to do what I love.”
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