The long-awaited second half of Glee’s first season will begin Tuesday, and the show is already preparing its second season. Three new characters will be added next season. FOX has already begun a nationwide search for its next singing sensations. The first step: a casting call contest in a few major cities. The show’s producers will watch the winning entries, rarely a guarantee during this process.
Andrea Hochkeppel, a senior in the School of Communication, decided to apply for the FOX News Chicago contest only a few days before the March 28 deadline. Judges from the network chose the top contestants by rating their videos on creativity, singing and acting abilities. Hochkeppel reached the top 20 and is now vying for the number one spot.
“I love the show, and it’s right up my alley because it’s singing and dancing and a little bit cheesy,” says Hochkeppel, a music theatre major. “I end up playing or leaning towards really quirky characters or odd best friend types.”
To showcase this quirkiness, Hochkeppel got creative with her submission. She sang “This Little Light Of Mine,” and her video features her belting the lyrics three times, progressing from lighting a candle on a cupcake to using a flashlight as a microphone to trying to turn on a broken lamp. “I figured I could take ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ and do my own kind of thing with it. That was the easiest to riff around,” she says. Song choices were limited to a list on the contest Web site featuring classics such as “Home On the Range” and “Amazing Grace.”
The daughter of two band directors, Hochkeppel grew up as a musician. She decided to major in theatre without any experience. Since then, she has performed in a variety of campus productions, the last of which was Parade. She is the music director of X-Factors, and dances and choreographs for Tonik Tap.
X-Factors had a show this past weekend, so Hochkeppel has been distracted from the contest. “I’m sort of focused on [X-Factors], sort of focused on school and sort of keeping my eye on this competition that’s like happening in the corner,” she says.
Hochkeppel is not the only NU student interested in the Glee auditions. Bienen junior Caitlyn Walsh intends to submit a video for the national casting call. Submissions are due April 26 on the GleeMySpace page. They must remain under one minute and contestants have to pick their songs off of a limited list. Walsh has chosen “Lean On Me,” so she can play around with a variety of different versions ranging from poppy to jazzy, show off her skills and have some fun.
“I did show choir in high school and hardly any colleges do something like it, so it’s just something that excites me,” Walsh says about her video for the casting call. “I’m not expecting to be cast in the show or anything, just the idea of making the video is funny.”
Hochkeppel intends to keep trying if she does not win the current contest. “I want to make another video and just enter the national casting call, which is a huge leap,” she says. “I want to be a performer, so I’m probably going to move to New York and start auditioning for anything and everything that will take me.”
In the meantime, however, she encourages everyone to vote for her daily. Voting closes April 16, and the winner will be announced on Good Day Chicago April 19.