UT Student Auditions for “American Idol”

Published: Feb 2, 2009
Julissa Veloz studies marketing at The University of Tampa, but the music business is where she aims to succeed.

A singer since childhood, she has dreamed all her life of becoming a professional performer.

Now the dream may become a reality, as Veloz recently passed the first round of auditions for “American Idol,” the popular Fox network TV show.

“I went in with a vengeance,” Veloz said of her performance on the show, which took place during an open call for auditions in Jacksonville, FL. Wearing a sash and tiara from “Miss Florida Latina USA,” a local pageant in which she competed, Veloz performed Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” during her 12-minute audition.

Her lively personality and infectious laughter, along with the choice of such a difficult song, particularly impressed the four-judge panel, which recommended Veloz unanimously to advance to the show’s “Hollywood” round.

A native of Newark, NJ, Veloz has been singing for most of her life, having been classically trained since the age of 10. She attended Newark School of the Arts, where she sang for renowned pianist Dalton Baldwin. 

While she is trained in classical singing, Veloz says she likes a variety of music, including rock and hip-hop. She has also performed semi-professionally at numerous venues. 

A junior at UT, Veloz chose to major in international business with a focus in marketing. She appreciates UT’s small class sizes and the local connections in the music industry.

“I wanted to be realistic and have something to fall back on,” she said. “Music is a very tough industry to get into.”

The Jacksonville audition was not the first time Veloz has auditioned for “American Idol.” During the 2008 season, she participated in an open audition in Miami, but was eliminated in the first round.

“It made me mad,” she said. “So I decided to better myself and be more confident.”

Having passed the show’s first round, Veloz now moves on to the show’s “Hollywood” round, where she will continue to compete against other American Idol hopefuls from across the nation.

The show’s judges will ultimately determine the final pool of 12 candidates, who will then compete for several weeks, seeking votes from the national viewing audience.

The show’s “Hollywood” round is scheduled to air on the Fox network at 8 p.m. EST on Feb. 3, 4, and 10.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Veloz said.

More information about Julissa Veloz can be found at her personal Web site.