Carmina Salcido won’t be the next American Idol. She won’t be following in the musical footsteps of Kelly Clarkson or Fantasia or Carrie Underwood or Jordin Sparks. At least not yet.
Carmina knew a few months ago what we all learned after the airing of the American Idol San Francisco on Wednesday night – her Idol dream ended in a SF hotel.
Idol producers decided not to air her story.
“I was shocked, I thought I was gonna make it through (to the Hollywood round),” Salcido said. “I was sure I was gonna get a golden ticket. I was disappointed. I felt like crying. But I hate showing emotion on the camera. Ryan (Seacrest, the show’s host) looked disappointed for me. Inside I was holding back tears.
“But I know what to work on for next time, definitely. Projecting my voice.”
She plans to reenter the competition again next summer. The 24-year-old Rohnert Park resident still fits into the show’s age restrictions which top out at age 28.
Carmina had brought her voice and her well-documented back-story to the initial Idol stage at AT&T Park last August. And after a 15-and-a-half hour day, during which she actually sang for maybe two minutes, she was exhausted but satisfied with her effort.
“We were in groups of four and I sat there from 7 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. when we were finally called down to sing. But earlier my name was called out over the loudspeaker to go down to the field in front of the dugout. I didn’t know what that was all about but I was told I was gonna be interviewed by Ryan Seacrest. That lasted maybe 3-4 minutes and then we went back to our seats.”
It all paid off a few hours later after Carmina sang first “Ave Maria” and then “White Flag” by Dido.
“We went down (to the field) in groups of four and I sang second. You sing and then you simply step back,” Carmina explained. “The judges were show producers. They said ‘You are through (to the next round.’ They didn’t know me, but they gave me a 10. It was cool because it was honest and they got me through cause they liked what they heard.”
What those judges didn’t know about Carmina, or at least they apparently didn’t know, was her story of survival. Twenty-two years ago her father, Ramon Salcido, murdered seven people, including her mother and two sisters. Then just a toddler, Carmina survived having her throat slit. She was found in a county garbage dump next to the bodies of her sisters.
Music became an outlet for her, as did writing, as she chronicled her life’s journey in a book – “Not Lost Forever” – that was published a year ago.
So, there she was on a warm August day, having eaten nothing more than a hot dog from the AT&T concession stand and consumed a couple of bottles of water but with the contentment of knowing she was one of about 450 out of 9,200 contestants who made it past round one.
“It was about 5:30 then I really just wanted to run away from the media waiting for me outside,” she said laughing.
That led to stage two which wasn’t what you saw on TV Wednesday night.
“We were split into two groups and I went back to San Francisco a couple of weeks later,” Carmina said.
So, off she went to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square where she performed the same songs in front of Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, one of the main Idol executives.
“I sang the same songs in front of him. He liked them but he said they weren’t powerful enough. I was going to sing a song by No Doubt but it wasn’t on the approved list of 3,000 songs.”
All that didn’t matter, Lythgoe gave her a pass and she was invited back to the Sir Francis to sing in front of the judges and that’s when her dream – at least for now – ended.
In the meantime she’ll have plenty to keep her occupied.
Four days prior to her 25th birthday on Easter Sunday, her first child, who she plans to name Zophia Angela Salcido, is scheduled to be born. Now that will be something for Carmina to sing about.