Milbank singers Sam and Abbey Converse are among thousands of contestants vying to become the next winner of American Idol. The sisters audition for... Sam and Abbey Converse to Audition for American Idol

Milbank singers Sam and Abbey Converse are among thousands of contestants vying to become the next winner of American Idol. The sisters audition for the hit reality TV show Tuesday, August 29, at Lewis and Clark Landing in Omaha, Nebraska. “I’m so excited,” Sam exclaimed. “And I’m just so excited for Abbey, too. She’s 15 years old and auditioning for American Idol.”

“I’m a bit nervous,” Abbey confessed. “I think I’m more nervous than Sam. I would never do this if she wasn’t here to push me.”

The young women know if they beat the odds, they could join a list of virtually unknown performers who have gone on to sign million-dollar record deals. Idol finalists and winners have sold more than 60 million albums, including 95 Gold records, and landed in the No. 1 spot on Billboards’ Top 100 more than 450 times.

American Idol was a pop culture sensation for 15 years, and launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Phillip Phillips. But, last year, the show was abruptly cancelled. Producers cited high expenses as the main reason, so viewers were surprised when the show was resurrected for the 2018 season. Sam said she feels they are looking for something specific. “They have an age group they are targeting – the youngest you can be is 15 and the oldest is 28. So, Abbey and I fit just perfectly.”

The girls have two or three songs prepared, but Sam’s first choice is Burning House by Cam. Abbey will sing When We Were Young by Adele. American Idol auditions have an open audition format – those auditioning must stand in line and wait their turn. “Last year, I auditioned for The Voice and had a time assigned to me,” Sam said. “But they don’t have that with American Idol. So, we plan to get there plenty early to get in line.” Each audition is up to 90 seconds long. The girls will sing a capella. “Neither one of us plays an instrument we can sing along with,” Sam said. “So we have to work extra hard to stay on pitch.”

Sam said at any point, the producers or other staff of the show can stop the process, so there is no guarantee everyone gets the chance to audition. “I’m so glad we are doing this together. We can’t audition as a duo, but I’m hoping they will let us go in together. With The Voice, we went in groups of about 10 people for the first round. I’m assuming this will be similar for the first few rounds.”

There are two to three rounds before the judges make their final verdict. “It would just make my eyes water if we actually got through,” Sam said. “I can’t imagine being able to sing for a living. It would be so amazing. Music has had such an impact on my life and is the same for so many other people, too.”

Sam sings on the worship team at her church in Watertown and Abbey is a member of the MHS choir. In preparation for their audition, both girls took voice lessons from the lead singer of the worship team. “We have been trying to fit in as many lessons as we can,” she said. “Last week we had three lessons. Plus, we spend other time during the day singing on our own.”

“I think I was born with the love of music,” Sam said. “I started playing the piano at age five. I remember our dad having a rule that there was no singing at the dinner table. We were just singing all the time.” She also said she feels differently this time. “I just feel confident. Maybe it’s because Abbey is going to be there, too.

Abbey is a sophomore at Milbank High School. Sam is 24 and an MHS and Lake Area Technical Institute graduate. They are the daughters of Melissa and Lance O’Farrell and David Converse.

At left is Sam and Abbey, right.

Staff Writer

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