Peoria’s own hits national stage on American Idol

Peoria native Callie Young has been a stand-out on this season of American Idol. [Submitted photo]

By Philip Haldiman
Independent Newsmedia

Seventeen-year-old Callie Young was born and raised in Peoria, but she has been spending some time in Hollywood lately in front of some pretty big names.

Ms. Young is a contestant on American Idol this season and has unanimously been given the go-ahead by the show’s panel of famous gate-keepers — Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Thanks to their approval, she has broken through thousands of auditioners nationwide to reach Hollywood Week, where 190 contestants will be narrowed down to only 50.

This portion of the competition has already been filmed and decided, but Ms. Young refuses to share the outcome. So fans will have to watch Sunday and Monday nights, March 24-25 on ABC at 8/7 central.

She says she’ll be the girl in the rainbow sparkly outfit with the long blonde hair.

Question: So, you have been working at this for awhile now. You have performed around the Valley, including singing the National Anthem for spring training games and Arizona Coyotes hockey games. You also recently released a single called “Back-up Plan” under the name CALLIE YØUNG, which can be found on Spotify and iTunes. At what point did you decide to pursue singing?

Answer: I didn’t really “decide” to get into singing, it’s sort of been inside of me for as long as I can remember. I looked up to musicians as a little girl, especially female pop singers and American Idol contestants. I watched Idol every night with my grandma and my mom. I remember telling them that I would audition one day, and they always believed me!

Q: Who specifically inspired you?

A: There are a lot of musicians that inspire my singing and performance. I have always looked up to women in rock and pop music. I grew up idolizing musicians ranging from Stevie Nicks to Taylor Swift, and it hasn’t really changed. Currently, I look up to a lot of female pop artists since that’s the direction I’m going with my music. Some examples would be Lorde, Lennon Stella, Bishop Briggs, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Halsey … the list goes on and on.

Q: Why did you decide to audition for American Idol?

A: American Idol is THE original singing reality television show. It has been known to produce successful singers, whether they have won or not. I have been obsessed with the show since I was really young and it’s always been a dream of mine to get that golden ticket to Hollywood.

Q: What has been your experience going through the audition process so far?

A: My audition process has been, and I’m being completely honest, amazing! I have had a really great experience since the very first open-call audition that was held here in Scottsdale. The producers and team members for Idol are all very kind and helpful. They make you feel like you’re apart of the family, which is true. You really are a family. The judges are simply stellar. Katy Perry told me that she wanted to be my “showbiz mom” going forward in the competition. I got to audition with an original song and then sang a cover of “Oh, Darlin’” by the Beatles.

Q: No matter what happens with Idol, what are your future plans as a singer/songwriter?

A: Music is my entire life. I have been working on a lot of singles and performances with my producer, Halen Bouhadana of Electric Sound Music. Outside of Idol, I just released my debut single “Back-up Plan” on Spotify and Apple Music. I’m also opening up for Noble Bodies, which is the drummer of Neon Tree’s new band, at Pub Rock on March 31. I have tons of my own musical opportunities coming up and I can’t wait to see where my journey brings me. I will also be attending Arizona State University starting this fall to study creative writing in order to hone in on my songwriting skills.

Q: What have you learned most from the Idol experience?

A: As cheesy as it sounds, dreams really do come true. I would have pursued music as a career with or without American Idol, but it sure helped to have the support of musical all-stars like Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

Philip Haldiman can be reached at 623-876-6743 or


If you go
What: Callie Young opening for Noble Bodies
When: March 31
Where: Pub Rock, 8005 E. Roosevelt St.
More info:

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