March 21, 2008 03:57 PM by Jennifer_Brown
Kids who want to compete in a future season of American Idol but wish there were a way to get a competitive edge can breathe easy this summer. For the second year in a row, Pali Mountain Retreat and Conference Center will be hosting American Idol camps, a place where superstars-to-be can get the 4-1-1 on what it takes to make it in the biz.
And who better to take the starring role as camp counselor than past American Idol contenders themselves?
Recently, Reality TV Magazine chatted with season 3′s Jon Peter Lewis, who is gearing up for his second stint as Idol camp counselor.
“I love kids,” says Lewis. “I love being involved. I remember all of my camp experiences and I remember a lot of my camp counselors from when I was a kid and the impact that they had on me. I like seeing the light turn on in the eyes of some of these young people.”
According to Lewis, a typical camp day includes plenty of singing instruction, as well as special guest speakers regarding hair, makeup, fashion, and performance. Every morning begins with a group sing and every night ends with a special concert. In between, campers have plenty of time for swimming, hiking, roasting marshmallows, and other “camp stuff.”
Although the 2008 official lineup of former Idols has not yet been announced, last year, the camp boasted past contestants Ace Young, Kimberly Locke, Bucky Covington, Carmen Rasmusen, Vonzell Solomon, and, of course, Jon Peter Lewis as camp counselors.
“I’d say probably the very best thing that someone learns and takes from Idol camp would be that it’s possible,” Lewis says. “That kind of feeling of empowerment is important for a young artist. I think that feeling of ‘I can do it and I’d love to try’ is really important.”
But also, Lewis explains, campers can gain a lot from learning that their “Idols” are just people, too. “When they meet some of these people that they see on TV,and then when they see you in the cafeteria eating the bad mac and cheese, it becomes ‘This is a friend of mine.’ It’s nice to have your idols; it’s nice to have someone to look up to. [But it] can be dangerous.”
Aside from that, Lewis’ only advice to would-be campers is simple: “Come with a good attitude and don’t be a jerk.”
American Idol camp will be held at the Pali Mountain Retreat and Conference Center beginning June 15, 2008. $2,995 will get campers ages 10-15 a two-week crash course in American Idol. Readers can use the promo code idolfan1 to waive the $35 registration fee.