Thursday, February 02, 2006


A few weeks ago, in my coverage of the American Idol premiere, I introduced you to Idol contestant Katrina Yaukey. For those of you who don't remember, she was the second contestant shown in the Chicago auditions, running right before our own notorious Justin Sticht. She sang (or rather rapped) "The Humpty Dance" as performed by Digital Underground.

Here's what I said about her:

Katrina Yaukey, what are you wearing?? Nice gams, but the boots? She's doing Shock G's voice from Digital Underground's "Humpty Dance"?? Not satisfied with half-cracked rap, the judges ask her to sing just any old thing that pops into her head. Not surprisingly, nothing enters her airspace. Goodbye.

I also accused her of being a producer plant, or a fake auditioner. Today, I opened my inbox and found this email waiting for me:

Hello J.D.!

I happened to find your blog today and thoroughly enjoyed reading all that you've had to say about American Idol. I felt the urge to contact you and let you hear my take on the whole thing. Feel free to post any or all of this email.

I, of course, found my name on your site and was rather surprised to see that I've been outed as a fake! I am a perfomer with a little experience and was excited to be a part of American Idol. I would absolutely do it again. I would also encourage people to go and audition! I met some amazing people while waiting in line!

Before stepping onto Soldier Field we were required to sign a extensive contract. It blatantly states that they can do whatever they want with anything they shoot of you. The show may reveal and/or relate information about me of a personal, private, intimate, surprising, defamatory, disparaging, embarrassing or unfavorable nature, that may be factual and/or fictional. I voluntarily signed that contract knowing they might make me look like a complete idiot!

I will come to my defense only in that what you saw was an edited version of my actual audition. I actually sang three songs in an initial audition and was asked to come back an hour later and sing another! So, indeed, with how they edited the clip, I looked like a "half-cracked" airhead. Infact I got almost halfway into the 'humpty dance', sang 'what's up' by 4 Non Blondes, and then sang part of an original song. When they asked me to come back in an hour...Simon actually asked me to lose the boots that you loved so much. I did, indeed, go back without the boots for the second audition and in a totally different outfit. My song and outfit in the second audition are what got me booted. So their reaction takes are actually from the second audition after I had sung four songs for them. Ahhh...the powers of editing. Honestly, would reality television be any fun if there weren't any editing? I'm sure many of the other performers had similiar experiences of surprise while watching their performances that were likewise edited.

I really feel as if I got off easy in what they showed that Tuesday. They said some awful things about some of the other performers whom I had met along the way. They really didn't say anything nasty about me...they just made me look unprepared...which I know I was not. Yes, I was thrilled for some exposure on national I'm sure all the rest of the auditioners were! Did I take the experience seriously? Yes! The choice of the Humpty Dance you ask? I say to future something to set yourself apart! Choose to stand out! It is the opportunity of lifetime!

Katrina Yaukey
-self proclaimed "half-cracked" airhead :)

I would like to be the first to compliment Katrina on being such a good sport about all this. As many of you regular readers here know, not all contestants (or their families) are so gracious. To be honest, I had to stretch to truly criticize that audition, because it wasn't nearly as bad as the others.

As with Mary Roach last year, all of the initial auditions are HEAVILY edited and often skew the truth for entertainment value. If you'll look carefully at each audition, every now and then you'll see them cut to the judges and they'll be wearing different clothes. Most of that footage is shot later when no contestant is present. The producers will ask them to do a reaction shot, and then cut it in with the actual audition later. This is evident even in the American Idol "Worst Of" DVD in the auditions that they purport to be "uncut." As for Katrina's performance, it appears that nearly 90 percent of it was edited.

So, who is the real Katrina Yaukey? Allow me to introduce you to her.

Katrina's actually an extremely nice young woman with a pretty smile. She's 5 foot 6 with red hair and brown eyes.

She plays the oboe, piano, accordion, flute, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, and trumpet. Try doing all that! As for me, I can only play the alto and tenor sax, and even that's been sitting in the mothballs for a while. She also owns (and does work on!) a '65 VW bus, a '71 Bug, and a '77 VW Camper. As her other talents, she lists gymnastics, beat boxing, body percussion, character voices, dance choreography and instruction, and foot farting!

Katrina has been professionally trained in acting, on-camera work, ballet, tap, gymnastics, and musical theatre. She's going for her degree at Penn State.

You might have caught her in the film Creepy Tales: Girls Night Out (2003) as Sue Cummins. She has her own IMDb page. You may also have seen her in a Broadway production of Cabaret. She has also toured internationally with a production of the same show. Regionally, she has portrayed Helen Rollander in Verdict, Phyllis Dale in 42nd Street, Fay Templeton in George M, Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Martha Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, and Helen Keller in Miracle Worker. She has also appeared in My One and Only, Will Rogers Follies, and Carnival. And if that weren't enough, she also was a funk tap dancer in the Absolut Vodka promo tour.

You can find all this information and more at her website: There are lots of photos there, so all you guys can go and gawk all you want.

Anyone wanting further info about Katrina can email her at as linked on her website.

Again, to Katrina, thank you so much for being a good sport. You're already a winner for putting yourself out there. Hopefully you'll come back and be a part of the American Idol coverage here.

And hey...if you ever need a good P.R. guy who promises never to call you "half-cracked" again, you know where to write!


At 5:48 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Wow... it is interesting to me that we all accept what we see on TV as true... even when all of our instincts are telling us that it is nonsense!

I am the most guilty of this in that I believe everything I hear in commercials... I know better but still won't face that 99% of ads are just chock full of BS!

At 6:40 PM, Anonymous michael said...

She gets huge points for being a good sport about this. I've always wondered about the contractual agreements performers are presented on this show.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Dancewriter said...

I wondered how they made those montage packages where all the singers were doing the same song separately. . . now I know.

This woman sounds like a really good sport. I hope she finds some fame in spite of AI.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Now you're hob-knobbing with American Idol've hit the big time JD!

At 2:39 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Mack, does this mean I'm an A-lister now?????

At 12:12 AM, Anonymous PJ said...

I know Katrina. My 10 year old daughter takes voice from her mother, another talented entertainer. Her sister is in a rock band in Germany, and her brothers & father have a successful DJ business. Music is in all of their blood. Idol would have been lucky to have her. She definitely deserved to get passed to Hollywood. I believe she's just a little too avant-garde for their mainstream pop tastes.


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