Infinity Vocal Teacher Sings For Celebrity Judges

Dylan Carlson

In 2018, Dunkirk resident and Infinity Visual and Performing Arts vocal coach Dylan Carlson serenaded the likes of Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie during the celebrity auditions of the 17th season of “American Idol.”

“It’s not because you don’t have it; it’s just that you’re not ready,” Perry told Carlson in the first episode of the season that aired in March.

While Carlson received “no’s” from the judges, it was with an optimistic spirit. They recommended that he return to auditions for the next season with an improved stage presence.

The local man, who was supported by his husband Joshua and family at auditions, has hope for the future of his career. He already teaches vocal lessons to people of all ages at Infinity, and he also won Chautauqua’s Got Talent last year.

“I’m very happy with the sound of (my voice),” Carlson said.

He said Richie also praised Carlson for being one of the best technical singers the judges had seen yet during Carlson’s audition day. Carlson said he was given plenty of constructive comments, and showrunners have already reached out to him, encouraging the young singer to return in fall for season 18 auditions.

“I’m pretty sure that I’m going to (return) because I’ve never been known to quit,” Carlson said.

As part of the “American Idol” process, Carlson had been instructed to share some of his struggles: working from the ground up with small gigs and encountering what he called homophobia in some business circles.

“I think it was for good,” Carlson said of his first “American Idol” experience.

He said he wants to be more prepared for a potential long-term commitment to the show next year. Carlson also said he wants to be more prepared emotionally, but as someone who professes to wear his emotions on his sleeve, the overwhelmed tears might continue with successful auditions and near misses alike.

The criticism of not having enough stage presence had first been brought to his attention during Buffalo auditions. He was told “no” by producers but was then offered a second chance to audition in Columbus, Ohio.

He moved on from that audition, continued to impress at Atlanta auditions and ended up in Louisville in front of Perry, Bryan and Richie. Before he knew it, he was walking out with a tear-stained face and the close comforts his husband and family could provide.

“Recording it took so long,” Carlson said of the behind-the-scenes assignments.

He had to look into the sunset for a while during his Louisville audition for the celebrity judges; he pointed out that sometimes up to 20 minutes of footage can end up into a few seconds on national TV.

Now a wiser performer and aspiring star, Carlson is teaching workshops on how to have a successful audition. He’s also teaching glee and step classes at Infinity. Anyone who wants to join these classses or get voice lessons can call Infinity at 664-0991.

“(Classes) have been going really great,” Carlson said.

Carlson will also be performing a lead role in the upcoming Jamestown Community College production of “The Last Five Years” in June.

“I think it’s going to be great for the community,” Carlson said.

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