Last September, two teens with connections to the Dallas music scene, McKenna Kay Dennis and Tristen Langely, auditioned for the 2014 American Idol XIII in Austin. Each of them earned a Golden Ticket to Hollywood, making it to the finals in this year's competition. This was quite an accomplishment, as there were only 21 entrants chosen in Austin out of thousands of hopefuls.
McKenna Kay Dennis, from The Colony, received her Golden Ticket to Hollywood when she auditioned for the American Idol competition with her own rendition of a Bruno Mars' song. McKenna's father, Jeff Dennis, has been well-known in the Dallas music community for years. Her older brother, Taylor Dennis, has also made a name for himself playing an active role in the scene since a very early age, when he started his own band, Revengeance He has since been in a number of bands - Saints of Los Angeles, Out of the Cellar, Edinlust, and Hysteria, among others. McKenna's first public appearance was at O'Riley's here in Dallas, where she performed an acoustic duet with her brother Taylor. You can see McKenna's interview on American Idol here.
Another young finalist that might be familiar to you is Tristen Langley, son of Nikki McKibbin, who placed third in the very first season of American Idol. Tristen made his first appearance on American Idol when he was only four years old, presenting his mother with a rose while she was on stage. You might remember seeing Nikki perform live a couple of years ago at the House of Blues or around Deep Ellum when she was the singer in a local band, Love Stricken Demise. Currently Nikki plays a very active role in her son's American Idol experience, appearing with him at his auditions. See Tristen's audition for American Idol Season 13 here.
Unfortunately, while working on this article, both of them were cut in the eliminations. But McKenna and Tristan should still feel honored and hold their heads high, as making it to Hollywood in itself was a great accomplishment. They actually got to be a part of a dream which thousands aspire to achieve. At 17 and 15, the two were some of the youngest contestants to receive a Golden Ticket, so hopefully they will go for it again in the future. Many of this year's finalists had been in this contest previously, as well as on the X Factor and other reality programs and competitions. Who knows, McKenna Dennis or Tristan Langley could be the champion in American Idol XIV.
My advice to any young hopeful ambitious star-in-the making - believe in yourself, and pursue your dreams. Reach for the stars, and you just may become one. McKenna Dennis and Tristen Langley are excellent examples for all young people - all of your hard work can pay off and lead you to the road to Hollywood.