W&M senior advances in ‘American Idol’ competition

Although many people tuned in to the 12th season premiere of American Idol on Wednesday night to see its new celebrity judges – Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj – the William & Mary community was looking for someone else: Vangelis “Van” Dimopoulos.

The William & Mary senior from Scotch Plains, N.J., tried out for the TV show in New York at the end of last year. Although his audition was not shown on Wednesday night’s episode that featured the New York auditions, he was seen at the end, triumphantly holding up a “golden ticket,” indicating that he was one of 41 from NYC who were selected to advance to the competition’s next round in Hollywood.

“My first thought when I got the golden ticket was, ‘Yes!’” Dimopoulos said in a video for the show. “I like jumped up, slammed the floor. After that, I don’t really know what I was thinking. I was just celebrating, I guess. I just got the ticket and ran outside like, oh my gosh, couldn’t believe it happened.”

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Dimopoulos, a mathematics and economics major at William & Mary, said that he tries to sing from his heart and that he thinks his voice is different from others on the show.

“My voice is kind of smooth, kind of pop-jazz, and I think that kind of brings a new element to the show,” he said in the video. “That’s why I think I’m unique.”

That unique quality is what makes him the next American Idol, he said.

“I think my voice is very different from past American Idols, and I think that I can be a great role model for other people in America to get inspired and either go out and try out for themselves or go out and do something that they love,” he said in the video.

American Idol airs on Wednesday and Thursday nights on Fox. The air dates for the Hollywood shows have not been announced yet.