UT Student Vied for Top Spot at Idol Auditions

Julissa Veloz was dismissed from the show during group rounds Wednesday, when the two men in her group were put through to the next round. Veloz, however, and the other woman in her group were sent home. She was shown crying as she left the theater.Pop culture seems to have landed on UT and refuses to leave.

Last week the campus was abuzz with the Super Bowl and celebrity sightings and parties galore. But don’t put away your paparazzi cameras away just yet. It seems that the University of Tampa is the home of a rising celebrity, Julissa Veloz.

Veloz is a Junior, International Business major with a remarkable talent for singing.’ She auditioned in Jacksonville for the titan of reality T.V., that is ‘American Idol.’ Last week she sang a powerful rendition of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Have Nothing’ and kept her cool when ex-pop songstress Paula Abdul threw a fit over being overlooked as a judge and stormed out of the audition room. She even managed to coax the pouty judge back into the audition room to resume the decision on whether Veloz was to receive the ‘Golden Ticket’ to Hollywood.

Although Simon was hesitant (big surprise), UT’s own Julissa Veloz was through to Hollywood. The Minaret wanted to know all the details about who she is and how American Idol is when the cameras are shut off.

Minaret: What did you sing on Tuesdays Episode and why did you sing it?
JV: ‘I sang ‘Inseparable’ by Natalie Cole. As a singer it’s hard to find a song that I connect with but when I sing it (Inseparable), it feels like I’m singing a new song each time.’

Minaret: Was your Jacksonville Audition your first audition for American Idol?
JV: ‘No, last season I auditioned and I didn’t make it past the first round.’

Minaret: Has anything surprised you about this process?
JV: ‘I didn’t think people would recognize me so fast! Not only in Tampa but also in Orlando. My hair is curly now, different from how it was on the show but still people are like, ‘HEY!’

Minaret: Are the other people supportive or really competitive?
JV: I met a lot of really amazing people while I was there. It seems like we’re really competitive but most of the time we’re trying not to pee our pants trying to impress the judges!

Minaret: Any cute guys that you connected with on the show?
JV: OH MY GOD we had such a good looking group of hotness! Both guys and girls. Everybody was just so good looking! There were all different types of nationalities, all different types of people but everyone was just ridiculously good looking. It was crazy.

Minaret: Have you learned any lessons from your experience on the show so far?
JV: After this experience, I came back a lot more confident in my songs and singing potential. My mind is a lot clearer as to where I’m trying to go with the music. I’m meeting a lot of the right people so I’m really exited about that. I came back so much more confident in myself and as an artist.

Minaret: You’re getting a lot of positive feedback now, but with more and more fame come criticism. Should the tables turn, would you be ready for that?
JV: I have already gotten negative comments. Some people think I’m not that good but others think I sang my song better than Whitney Houston herself which I don’t agree with because hey! Some people said, ‘That’s not her real hair!’ They think I’m wearing a wig or something! Some people even say I’m retarded sounding, Including Simon. But I just laugh it off. They say these things but that means that they’re paying attention so I don’t mind it.

Minaret: Do you have any tips for people who might want to be on American Idol?
JV: One thing, it’s not like it looks like on TV. It’s a very tedious process. It was long nights of not sleeping and waking up and people getting sick and just hard crazy work all day. It’s really intense.

Minaret: What’s something about American Idol that most people wouldn’t know? What’s a little secret that you can let us know?
JV: I can’t really talk about like – I can say one thing. Simon is really nice.

Minaret: Really?
JV: Yeah! At the end of my audition in Jacksonville on TV it seemed like he gave me a tough time or whatever, but when I went to hug him, he whispered in my ear, ‘Good job kiddo!’ He’s really nice and positive. I liked him.

Minaret: Are there any lucky routines you have when preparing for an audition?
JV: No, I wouldn’t call it luck but I pray before so I get into the zone.

Nicole Robinson can be reached at nrobinson@ut.edu

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