Sixteen years ago, Phil Stacey missed the birth of his daughter to audition for season six of American Idol. That daughter, McKayla Stacey, is now making her American Idol debut.
McKayla, a 16-year-old Andover Central High School student, said music has always been a part of her life.
After her father got sixth place in season 6, he became a country music artist and went on tour, and McKayla went on the road with him.
“I got to see him sing and be with a group of artists,” he told L’Aquila in an interview on Thursday.
Music didn’t seem like McKayla’s “thing” until middle school.
“I’ve always loved the idea of being a singer, but it wasn’t necessarily a one-time thing because everyone around me was singing,” she said. “But then I got into middle school and I started singing more and my dad sat me down and said, ‘Hey, do you want to be a singer?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve always loved singing, it’s kind of my passion,’ so I took it seriously.
While her dad certainly inspired her to audition for the singing contest, which airs on Sunday, Feb. 26, the decision to try out was last-minute.
“My sister sent me the audition ad on Zoom literally the night before the auditions were due,” McKayla said.
But there was one factor that felt like a sign.
“[My dad] it was on season six of American Idol, and since the show moved to ABC, this is the new sixth season,” McKayla said. “So I was like, I have to do this.”
Her father was able to drive her to New Orleans to audition in October.
“It was really cool to go on set and see him interact with everyone because he met a lot of people that he knew from when he was on the show and, you know, it was fun to see him relive his time on the show,” McKayla said.
When watching old episodes of American Idol, McKayla noticed how comfortable and relaxed everyone seemed when they sang in front of the judges. So it came as a shock to her when her nerves hit, she said.
“When I finally got to sing in front of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan — who are all amazing artists — I didn’t realize how really nerve-wracking it would be, I just didn’t think about it,” she said. . “But they were super nice. The show was really nice to me. It was a really good experience overall.”
McKayla is having a watch party on Sunday with family and friends.
“I’m really excited that the episode finally aired because I had to keep it a secret, the outcome of the audition,” he said. “I’m very nervous to see what my audition is going to be like because the whole experience almost made me pass out. So being able to watch it on TV is going to be super weird, but I’m just ready to finally get it on the air.
She said she has experienced a huge outpouring of love and support from the area.
“Every single person I told that to was thrilled. I have had a lot of support from Wichita and Andover,” she said.
The outcome of McKayla’s audition remains a secret until Sunday, but whatever happens next, she said she just wants to keep making music.
“I think I have a deep passion for music, and I think whatever happens with American Idol, I want to move forward and somehow make a career out of it, whether it’s performing live, singing in the studio, or even just teaching. Like I love music, so the goal is to really be able to do it for a living,” she said.
Like watching McKayla on American Idol
Tune into ABC Sunday night to see how McKayla fares in the audition.
The episode will air at 7:00 p.m. Central Standard Time and will also be available to stream on Hulu the day after it airs.