American dreams, American Idols

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by Matt Toomb

EUGENE- Caleb Rexius, 25, is back at home in Eugene with his wife Betsie, with no hard feelings. “It was a great experience, just being surrounded by so many talented people.”

Rexius was cut from last week’s “Hollywood Week” episode of American Idol after a whirl-wind ride that started long before his initial San Francisco audition.

Born to the local Rexius family, Caleb and twin brother Sol were taught at an early age the importance of hard-work, believing in yourself, and faith. They grew up on the field on Saturdays and the church on Sundays, excelling on both the track and the football field at Churchill High School, then later, the University of Oregon. It was at the U of O where both young men abandoned their athletic pursuits, choosing instead to focus their efforts into music. Caleb joined On the Rocks, the A Cappella group, and Sol joined the choir. It wasn’t long before the two collaborated and formed Caleb and Sol, both as an extension of their passion for music, as well as their faith. The LP Afloat was released in 2009.

“I guess I’ve been thinking about auditioning for American Idol for several years now… and finally my wife said, ‘hey, you just gotta do it.’ So here I am.” He told Idol judges. Caleb did well in the San Francisco audition, getting his “golden ticket” to Hollywood Week… where things took a challenging turn.

“I felt honored to make it as far as I did. It was funny, I actually felt like my last audition was my strongest, but that’s when I got cut, because the competition was just so good.” He commented, once back home.

When Caleb was cut from Hollywood Week, an additional 130 contestants from last year were added (perhaps to boost waning ratings?), thus doubling the usual amount of hopefuls.

Since it’s first year, American Idol has become more than the highest rated show in the history of Nielson, it has become an American Institution that firmly held the number one spot in the ratings for 6 seasons straight- not bad for a spin-off talent competition that started in the summer of 2002… not exactly where networks choose to put their flagship shows. In the time it has been on the air, American Idol has delivered the dream of making the big-time right into your living room; it has given promise to every shower singer out there that ever had a vision of bright-lights and big-city; and it has sold the idea that anyone can pursue their dreams without having to really work for it. Idol might have put the nail in the coffin on the record industry, but the estimated $10 BILLION dollars in TV revenue hasn’t hurt the FOX Broadcasting Network just one bit- ask Glen Beck or Homer Simpson.

“I think my favorite American Idol moment is probably Chirs Daughtry’s audition, I’ve probably watched that on YouTube a hundred times..” Caleb remarks, “he and I are pretty similar..” Rexius remarked to cameras in San Francisco.

From country singers like Carrie Underwood to rockers like Daughtry, Idol has launched the careers of almost all of its winners, and a lot of its runners up. Regardless of the controversy and criticism surrounding the specifics of the contracts that Idol gives its winners, the eyes of America are watching… and if you are good enough, flashy enough, or wild enough… the day can be yours.

As for Rexius, he’s just happy for the experience. “I am not sure if I would do it again, I have 3 more years of eligibility, so we’ll see.”

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