Makayla Brownlee, a 17-year-old from Wellington who comes from a family of musicians, appeared on “American Idol” March 15 and wowed the judges.
“You’ve got this little yodel cry, that’s a real magic trick you’ve got. It’s a signature for you,” said Lionel Richie.
Brownlee sent a video to Wichita’s Channel 10 for its KAKE Idol contest last September. Brownlee sang, “She Used to Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, and made it to KAKE’s top 10, meaning she and the others who placed advanced to the front of the line at Wichita’s Century II tryouts. She then progressed through other levels of auditions until her appearance in front of the Idol judges that aired Sunday night.
Brownlee auditioned last year in Kansas City, Missouri, and while she didn’t make it through to Hollywood, the judges did tell her to come back.
″It was a good experience and I’m a lot more comfortable this year than I was last year,” Brownlee said.
Brownlee has a rather unique hobby. She has a passion for hunting snakes in her hometown and shared pictures of herself getting cozy with the creatures after she caught them during her weekend camping trips.
The judges were unanimous in their decision to put the talented snake charmer from Kansas through to the Hollywood round, and the teenager was given her golden ticket.
Brownlee says that the moment she sang the Miranda Lambert hit, “The House That Built Me” on stage at the Kansas Wheat Festival when she was 7, she knew she wanted to be a performer.
Now she’s going to Hollywood.
″I’m really excited,” Brownlee said. “I’m really nervous but I’m ready for this journey.”
Brownlee is the second person from the Wichita auditions to be featured so far this season. Last month, Wichita resident Arthur Gunn appeared on the show’s season premiere and was praised by the judges.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice