Kohlton Pascal decides to pass on ‘American Idol’ Hollywood ticket

The 21-year-old who sounds like an old soul blues singer won’t be trying to match up with the young pop world of “American Idol” in Hollywood after all.

My good friend and former colleague Melinda Johnson reports this morning on syracuse.com that Kohlton Pascal of Auburn and Skaneateles and Syracuse, N.Y., has decided to pass on using the Golden Ticket he earned in his audition to the Hollywood rounds for FOX TV singing competition show “American Idol.”

In an interview, the 21-year-old told Johnson that the ‘AI’ staff encouraged him during the filmed audition to smile and be more cheery. “As a person that’s not how I conduct myself. That’s not how my music comes,” he said on syracuse.com. “There’s no way in hell I’m going to bend for anybody like that.” She wrote that he also said he thought his audition clip appealed to the “black sheep crowd.” “And to take that identity from me,” he said, “would be to take everything that made the magic.”

Kohlton Pascal, not smiling during his "American Idol" audition in Kansas City.

Kohlton Pascal, not smiling during his “American Idol” audition in Kansas City.

Pascal said he’ll play club and bar gigs around Central New York with his band, The Suspiciously Frisky, and continue to write songs and work on his music. He added that he may consider trying out for “American Idol” again next year.

As much as I thought it would be compelling to see Pascal’s reaction getting thrown into the “AI” Hollywood fish tank with hundreds of singers of rock and pop with voices more attuned to the cover songs the producers make available during these rounds, I also think this is a good move because he’s decided that’s not the right place and time for him at this point in his life.

Would he have learned from that process? Hopefully. Would he have been embarrassed by failure or bolstered by progress? We don’t know. Will he get anywhere with his music by playing in Central New York with the weight of one nationally televised “American Idol” audition on his resume and a desire to get better in heart? He and we shall see.

Do you think Kohlton Pascal should have continued to the Hollywood rounds on “American Idol” just because he got a Golden Ticket and his audition got so much exposure on the FOX broadcast? What did this decision show to you about his musical direction? Do you think he should try out for the show again next year, and why or why not?

56 thoughts on “Kohlton Pascal decides to pass on ‘American Idol’ Hollywood ticket

  1. As I told you before, I don’t watch the show, but I think that was a difficult and mature decision for him to pass. And it shows a lot of character to do so. Good for him! I wish him luck. πŸ™‚


  2. I know he may have felt this way, but singing is a joyful way to celebrate music. I think that he should have played the game a little longer, look how Philip Phillips refused to wear certain clothes, once he got a little bit farther down the road… he also made his songs international by their playing it at the Olympics the year he won. I hear him on several commercials and would go see his plaid flannel shirt and recognize his voice anywhere. Sorry, but I think that Kohlton should have expected this and it is after all “American Idol.”


  3. He may never get the chance for exposure again. AI won’t kill who he is, but if he’s unwilling to smile, then he’s unwilling to compromise, which is part of the music industry, especially trying to break in. No shame in trying to stretch yourself and failing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s admirable that Kohlton Pascal wants to be true to himself and not lose himself in the Hollywood system. Still, it’s natural, when looking back to ponder ‘the road not taken.’ Whatever his path, I wish him all the very best. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think he did exacly the right thing Mark. He is unique and will do well outside the usual fast track. I look forwad to hearing where he goes next.


  6. I haven’t been a follower of A.I. but I happen to watch that audition. I thought it was pretty cool of them to choose a homeless wanderer to give him a chance, yet I wondered about their motivation? Would they have tried to do a makeover? Would they have retooled his personal journey? If he is being true to himself then I guess just being picked is a great accomplishment, saying no thanks gives creds to the foundation of true musician…not being famous…just playing your music. Not sure his motivation though, maybe to get famous for saying no? Ya got me thinking!


  7. I admire his decision to opt out – I often get the impression Idols is meant for only a few specific types of singers, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s good he was self-aware enough not to force himself through it. Also, it must be said this was potentially a very smart marketing (or branding) decision for him. He already got a lot of publicity through his audition. Opting out now makes new and old fans respect him, perhaps more than if he had stuck through a few rounds. It also sends a clear message of what his music is all about. All around, I’d say bravo to some good thinking.


  8. I can’t imagine a contestant having to be told to smile and be cheery. That’s kind of a big red flag that he wasn’t a good fit. I think he would have benefitted so much from being there, but I appreciate that he passed the chance now on to another contestant.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I remember seeing him in the auditions episode when it originally aired on TV. He has talent! Well, it sounds like the cheeriness of Idol wasn’t a great fit for him, or so he thought. At least he was honest with himself.


  10. i admire him for sticking to what matters to him, and to who he really is. i think the ai track is and ideal road for some, and arduous for others. bravo to him, though i would have loved to see him again, even though i’m not watching it on a regular basis anymore –

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Knowing Kohlton personally and having heard his music in his reality is better than American idol. AI is just not him i can agree that he is an amazing talent and being all about music myself i believe he made the right choice for who he is.


  12. Yes, yes, yes!! I know you get a lot of comments on your blog but I am hoping you remember our ‘conversation’ about how I didn’t want Kohlton to become generic after going through the AI process so I almost feel like I saw this one coming, (without tooting my own horn too much I suppose). Alright!!! Good for you Kohlton! I love this guy already!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I remember your comment, Marissa, and I thought of how happy Kohlton’s decision would make my favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll Supermom who’s lived the life as I wrote the piece, too. Why don’t you friend him on Facebook and tell him what you told me yourself? I think he’d appreciate the support.


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