Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

February 6, 2014

Golden ticket to Hollywood

McQuillen advances to next round in 'American Idol'

Andover’s Casey McQuillen sailed through the “American Idol” audition round last week, scoring a golden ticket to Hollywood.

As The Townsman was going to press this week, McQuillen was among the 212 “Idol” hopefuls who had moved on to the Hollywood round aiming to score one of the 16 contestant slots.

Over the next two weeks, the 212 wannabes will be whittled down to about 30 and then the final 16 who will vie for the “Idol” crown in season 13 of the popular Fox reality show.

That elimination process has already been taped, and while the 21-year-old McQuillen knows the outcome, she’s bound by “Idol” rules not to divulge how she did or risk a hefty fine and elimination from the contest.

But after winning rave reviews from the trio of “American Idol” judges during her audition, which aired last Thursday, Jan. 30, McQuillen has been turning to social media to build a fan base and boost her national exposure.

On Sunday, she began a FACEBOOK campaign to secure 20,000 likes for her “American Idol” audition tape, which is posted on youtube.

On Monday, McQuillen announced on Facebook, “All that matters is, how big do you want to dream, and how hard do you want to work? Goodnight #McQCrew, this crazy ride is just starting!”

She’s also been spotted on “American Idol” promos leading up to the first nights of the Hollywood round of taping, which were airing this Wednesday and Thursday night.

McQuillen certainly caught the judges’ attention at her audition broadcast last week, earning a “perfect” from Jennifer Lopez and a “gorgeous” from Keith Urban

“It was so insane. It was unbelievable,” McQuillen said from her apartment in Boston’s Back Bay moments after she watched the broadcast with a houseful of cheering family and friends.

McQuillen, who traveled to Omaha to audition after missing the Boston try-outs, said it was hard for her to fully comprehend the judges’ comments in the haze of the “Idol” spotlight. But their words came through loud and clear as Lopez, Urban and Harry Connick Jr. all couldn’t say enough about the Phillips Academy graduate who is now studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

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