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'American Idol,' Marshall alum Chase Likens hopes for success in coming year

Jan. 06, 2014 @ 12:00 AM

Marshall University alumnus Chase Likens is in the midst of giving show business everything he has to give.

He has seen some success on TV talent shows such as "American Idol" and "American Country Star," where he has appeared and performed before millions of people. But now, he has to take that notoriety and try and make it in one of the most fickle professions in the world.

Likens grew up along the Ohio River in a place called Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va., located along Rt. 2 south of Point Pleasant. After being accepted into Marshall University, Likens decided to audition for "American Idol" and soon found himself in the national spotlight.

"I had started my freshman year of college at Marshall and I was just your average music student," said Likens. "A friend of mine who was in the Music Department heard that there was a cattle call audition at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., and she just got a wild hair and asked me if I would drive down there with her and audition. They pulled me in during the cattle call, and I think they only took in about 300 that day out of about 17,000. That was the longest I ever spent waiting in line for an audition. That took from about 5 o'clock in the morning until 6 p.m. in the evening. It's a lot of waiting."

As one would expect, there was a lot of hope and disappointment and anticipation in the air with that many people in one place, hoping for a successful audition. Fortunately, Likens made it to the next round.

"I was too tired to be nervous," said Likens. "Even though it was my first time to audition for the show, I waited so long to audition that I didn't really have it on my mind whether or not I'd make it. But, they received it well and that was the first time I got one of those golden tickets that they show you on TV as you're walking out the door. They gave me a temporary one to take with me so they knew I had made it to the next round. From there, it really changed everything. Then, there were about 10 rounds that I had to go through before I made it to the live shows. In the next round, I met with the higher-up producers Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe and they were my hardest judges throughout the whole show because they said, 'We don't think you are a star,' and all of these discouraging remarks. Then, I finally got in front of the celebrity judges and they were all about it."

As one would expect, being on a high-profile TV show like "American Idol" taught Likens a lot about the business.

"I realized that, first and foremost, at least when it comes to reality TV singing shows, that it was first a TV show and then it was a competition," said Likens. "That was something that took me a little bit longer to grasp, because I just wanted it to be about talent. How they manipulated things, some of it I didn't find appropriate. But, it is a TV show first, and then it is a competition. They filmed everything that people did, and it was like putting bees in a jar. If you give them a deadline to learn a certain song, there is going to be drama. But, I really commend 'American Idol' for pioneering that and doing such a good job with it. I'm not faulting them, that is just what I learned from it."

Likens made it to the live show portion of 'American Idol,' making it to the top 12 male singers category before being eliminated. Then, he made his way to Nashville where he continues to pound the pavement, looking to go to the next level.

"We were walking to a meeting down in Nashville about two or three weeks ago with a booking agency and the glamour that they portray on the television show (called 'Nashville' on the ABC network) compared to how it is in real life, it is pretty similar as far as how cutthroat it is," said Likens. "But, it is definitely a business that I've wanted to pursue ever since I was a little kid so I'm not the least bit discouraged. I just want to make good music and hope people enjoy hearing it. I've been fortunate enough, this far, of really going out there and getting some attention. We're definitely on the radar."

Likens also returned to Marshall to get his degree in Theater Performance and he has added acting to his resume. He is in the process of auditioning for various movie and TV show roles, hoping to combine his vocal skills with his acting chops. Meanwhile, Likens continues to tour and he has a new single out called "No Other Girl," which can be found at his website, www.chaselikensofficial.com.

"I'm playing all ends of the field and leaving no stone unturned, if you will," said Likens. "There is no doubt in my mind that I'll do whatever it takes to live the dream that I've always wanted to live."

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