Hopefuls take a shot at becoming an ‘Idol’ 

Angelina Heaven Ortiz was told she had the perfect voice for radio. Just not TV.

Ortiz came to the Cow Palace on Thursday hoping to become the world’s next American Idol. Unfortunately for her, so did 7,500 other people. She was one of the many singers told "Thanks for coming," "Try again next year" or "Practice more in front of the mirror," when denied entry onto the popular Fox show’s upcoming eighth season.

"They said that I should be on radio, not on TV. It kind of turned me off," said Ortiz, 17, who came to Daly City from Sacramento to try out. "Them judges ain’t going to ruin my moment."

They were not going to spoil the time Forrest Johnson, 27, and Lauren Rowlett, 23, had when they came to the area for a week from Redding. The show’s judges turned them down, too, but they came out of the eventwith something better: a marriage proposal Johnson made three days before the audition.

The couple woke up at 3 a.m. Thursday, arrived at 6 a.m. with the rest of the participants and waited five hours before trying out for their 15 minutes of fame.

"They kicked off tons of awesome singers," Johnson said.

"Like us," Rowlett chimed in.

Nephi Speer, 28, of Walnut Creek was one of the fortunate tryouts who was told to exit through the special doors on the east side of the building. That meant the judges wanted Speer to fill out more paperwork and sing again before a possible invite onto the show.

"The only nerve-wracking part is when you’re up there in front of the judges," Speer said.

Despite the tense experience and harsh rejections, most of the participants said it was merely a bump in the road to their inevitable singing stardom.

"I’m going to keep singing," said Ashlee Bareiss, 23, of Manteca, who was turned down after belting out three songs. "I’ll be back next year."

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

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