The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

    Student lives dream on ‘Idol”

    All Chikezie Eze needed was a second attempt and another year to make it into the top 10 of the hit Fox television show, “American Idol” after being eliminated last night.

    His first time auditioning for the show last year, Eze was eliminated in the top 50 but returned this year, improving his image and his talent, to the happiness of the El Camino music department.

    “Last time, he got to 50. This time, we find him becoming quite solid; his performances are getting better and I am extremely proud of what I see,” Dr. Joanna Nachef, professor of music and director of chorale, said.

    “I can see that he is improving every week with his confidence; he seems to be at ease with the camera and his singing is fairly even in the voice, so you don’t feel the nerves changing the range.”

    A true rag-to-riches story from Inglewood, Eze, whose family is Nigerian, was not brought up in the best of places, but now with his opportunity on the hit show “American Idol,” it warms many hearts to see him on the stage and watch him live out his dreams.

    The 22-year-old used to attend Fairview Heights Baptist Church in his hometown, the same church that ex-super model and TV talk show host Tyra Bakns went to as a child.

    As part of the church choir, Praise Team, Eze, who aborted his last name on the show to stand out more, would improvise gospel songs.

    Negative criticism from Simon Cowell about Eze seems to come from his style of singing being considered old-fashioned.

    On his American Idol Web profile, Eze says that he draws inspiration from artists like Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway “and anyone that makes good music.”

    “One of the judges is saying he is old-fashioned, but not all of them are agreeing with Simon on that. I think it is because he is trained to sing classically and legitimately, not just what the pop singers sound like,” Nachef said. “He’s got the voice, the chops, and sometimes these shows look for only the package but not the quality, but he’s got the appeal.”

    The department continues to be impressed by his ability and his maturity.

    “I think he can do it all, but I’ve enjoyed my experience with him doing the gospel, which is never written, but on the spot,” Nachef said.

    The show itself has Cowell and Eze in a battle of wits, but many see the singer as a jokester and a great friend.

    “I feel like Simon, who knows what he’s talking about all the time, wants to have that edge and that tension and Chikezie is one of the few who responds to that,” Nachef said.

    “He’s got a warm soul. It’s that smile. It just melts your soul. It’s just human to human,” Rhonda Dillon, former teacher of Eze and part-time music instructor, said.

    Eze, mostly known as Chekezie thanks to “American Idol,” may be seen on his Myspace profile.

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