The third time’s a charm. At least that’s what one Port Allen woman was hoping when she auditioned in front of American Idol judges for the 12th season of the popular singing competition television show.
On Thursday, January 24, American Idol viewers saw about three seconds of what has turned out to be a lifetime of hard work and dedication to her craft, when Port Allen’s Brandy Hotard sang in front of judges and was sent to Hollywood, Calif., to the show’s second round.
Hotard has sang in front of judges in two previous seasons of the television show on FOX dating back to 2004, but was never put through to the Hollywood round – until this season.
“We are so proud of her,” said Stacie Hotard, Brandy’s mother.
Stacie Hotard said that before Brandy went to audition, which took place, initially, in New Orleans in July 2012, she told her daughter that this was her year. The “callback audition,” where contestants audition for the judges, took place in Baton Rouge in October 2012.
“Now that you’ve graduated, this is your year. Go in there and tell them the third time’s a charm, and you’re back!” Stacie remembered and mimicked.
Brandy said that she was nervous going before judges in Baton Rouge, but when she saw the background of the Mississippi River from the BR River Center, it soothed her to know that she was so close to home.
“I kind of zoned out when I was singing and looked over their heads at a familiar sight, so that made it kind of easier for me being that close to home,” Brandy Hotard said.
Brandy sang “Hell on Heels” by the Pistol Annies, to the judges’ approval.
“The consensus was that they liked it,” Brandy said of the audition, adding that the celebrity judges said they believed she may have been holding back a bit.
According to Brandy, Mariah Carey said she felt that Brandy was holding back on the higher notes, but liked it.
Keith Urban said he loved the song choice and he like it.
“He was kind of short, sweet and to the point,” said Brandy.
Nikki Minaj said she wanted a little more as far as the performance goes, but overall, she liked it.
Minaj, who has given nicknames to many of the contestants so far through the season, gave Brandy the nickname “Dolly.”
“I didn’t know how to take that, so I just smiled, looked at her and said thank you.”
Head judge Randy Jackson was on the fence about the performance, according to Brandy. He told her that he wasn’t jumping up on his feet about it, but thought she may have what it takes, and said yes as well.
“At that point they said I was going to Hollywood,” said Hotard.
According to Stacie, Brandy has had a love for music since she was a child.
“She loved to sing since she was a little girl, there was no doubt about it,” Stacie said.
As a child, Brandy’s parents, Stacie and Dean Hotard, enrolled her in dance classes. Brandy said that she would do all of the dance moves asked of her, but would also sing the entire class.
“My dance instructor told my mom years back, I really think you all should get her into voice lessons. She clearly looks like she’s enjoying singing more than she’s enjoying dancing. And I did,” Brandy remembered.
Brandy started receiving voice lessons when she was 13-years-old, and entered singing competitions. She was chosen to play a leading role in the musical “Oliver,” at Southeastern Louisiana University at the age of 16.
“Every time I turned around there was a new adventure she was on,” Stacie Hotard said.
Because of her competitive nature (she played volleyball and softball St. Joseph’s Academy) and her love of music, Brandy eventually found her way into pageantry where her talent was, of course, singing.
“As the years went on, I knew that this was something I loved,” Brandy said. “I have a very competitive spirit, and it’s just been something that has always been a passion, as cliché as that sounds.”
Stacie said that she, too, knew that music was Brandy’s love, and spent many hours, and drove many miles to help turn Brandy’s dream into a reality.
“As a parent, as a mother especially, you do everything you can to help your child to accomplish their dreams” Stacie Hotard said. “I hope this is her year, and I’m proud of her to whatever may happen from this point on.”
Brandy’s father, Dean, echoed the sentiments of Stacie, saying that he is excited his daughter has made it this far into the competition, and is looking forward to seeing what happens next.
“When she started singing in competitions as a 16-year-old, she asked me what I thought,” remembered Dean. “When I was her age I played softball, and through the years I have a lifetime of friendships. I told her that if that’s all she gets out of it, that’s enough.”
Dean Hotard, who owns an architecture firm in Port Allen, said that he believes Brandy will do well, but even if she doesn’t go much further in the competition, “If nothing else happens, she’s got a great experience.”
Brandy has seen a lot of support from not only her parents, but has heard from many people in the West Baton Rouge community as well.
“I am honestly shocked at how many people know about it; how many people watched it. It’s crazy to see this much support of the community,” she said.
Brandy said that she set up a fan page on Facebook.com, a popular social networking Internet website, for herself. Within less than two days, she said she had more than 1,800 fans.
“The hometown support has been unbelievable so far,” she said.
Internet bloggers suspect Brandy will make it fairly far in the competition due to her singing style and hometown feel, and the backing and support of the community, and the South as a whole.
”You can bet with Keith Urban on the panel that some of these country singers will make the voting stages.
This one (Brandy Hotard), however, is a pageant girl. Those don’t seem to make it very far. HOWEVER, she is from Louisiana. That’s deep south. That’s voting territory. The only better place to come from is Birmingham, Alabama,” said “Ms. J of MsJsBigBlog.com.
AmericanIdolNet.com said that Brandy is rumored to be among the Top 40 girls that make up the Season 12 hopefuls list. Brandy said that she couldn’t comment on what may happen later in the season, but was elated at how far she has made it so far.
Brandy said that though she has been singing at different capacities since she was a teenager, she is very excited about the opportunity she has to represent Port Allen in American Idol.
She said that her most recent band, the Harvey Wallbangers, who she has sang with for four months, said that they hate to see their lead singer go, but are excited for her.
“As it got more real - I really am going to Hollywood - it was very surreal at first,” Brandy said. “But it’s really becoming more real as this whole thing unfolds.”
Brandy said that “Hollywood Week” on American Idol begins in about two weeks.