BEHIND THE SCENES
Having faith and “Idol” dreams align for Cameron Theodos
Sometimes chasing your dream doesn’t look exactly the way you’d expected. When local musician Cameron Theodos got an opportunity to make his dreams happen, he had to go for it.
“My dad has always encouraged me to try out for ‘American Idol’ or ‘The Voice’,” Theodos said. “He pushed me to do it when I wasn’t sure I was good enough. When ‘American Idol’ came to Shreveport, it seemed like a no brainer to give it a shot.”
Theodos grew up in music, has served as a worship pastor, and doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t sing. He and his wife, Courtney, are members of the band Alive by Sunrise, which Theodos started in 2011 and is composed of Rowan (lead guitar), Joseph Spears (bass), Jeremy Spears (drums), Dylan VanEaton (keys, guitar and vocals) and Matt Bolton (guitar). Theodos sings and plays guitar.
Auditioning for “American Idol” was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So, Theodos took a huge leap of faith and with his beautiful wife in tow, headed to make his dreams come true.
The audition process was a long journey, and Theodos attempted to realistically manage his expectations from the beginning. “I went into the process with no real hopes, in order to try not to be disappointed,” he admitted. “I took each round of auditions with the thought that we’d climb each mountain as we got there.”
Theodos climbed high enough and soon discovered he would get to perform for Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.
The moment was understandably huge for Theodos. “When I found out I was going before the judges, I had just completed a private audition for the executive producers at their L.A. offices, which was crazy nerveracking,” Theodos said. “Then they told me they liked me a lot, and they wanted to send me to New Orleans for the judge’s round.”
Excited was an understatement.
Theodos quickly mapped out some short-term and long-term goals for the show. “I really wanted the judges to see me as an artist and a songwriter,” Theodos said. “I’d hoped to shock them a little bit, too, because I don’t look like my voice.” His immediate goal was to get the golden ticket that would take him to Hollywood.
But he also wanted to build some publicity for Alive By Sunrise. “I figured getting in front of millions of viewers couldn’t hurt our chances of seeing the band grow,” Theodos laughed.
And he got it. Theodos nabbed a golden ticket, and he and Courtney jetted off for California.
“The way ‘American Idol’ decided to portray a lot of things this season didn’t give me the largest platform to gain publicity, but we did see some growth with the band and our social media following,” Theodos said.
And he’s beyond grateful for what he got. “I was able to get some traction locally with recognition, and ultimately, we gained exposure,” Theodos said. “I’m thankful that ‘Idol’ aired me as much as they did, because there are some crazy talented people that never got shown on TV due to time constraints.”
Once he arrived in Hollywood, it was hard work and lots of nerves. After another performance, Thoedos couldn’t shake the gut feeling that he was going to be eliminated.
Unfortunately, his gut was correct. “When the time came for my group to go through cuts, we all lined up across the stage,” Theodos said. “They asked several members to step forward, one of those being Garrett Jacobs, who was to my right. When he stepped forward, I knew that unless I moved forward, I was done.”
Theodos’ name was never called, so he hugged Jacobs, congratulated him, and walked out of the Dolby Theater. It all happened so fast, and was over just as quickly.
“If we’re being honest, walking through ‘American Idol’ was the hardest thing that me and my wife have had to do,” Theodos said. “I lost my job at the start of the process, and it really looked like God was opening all of the doors for this to be the next step in our careers.”
But Theodos soon realized that oftentimes, the journey is worth more than the destination. “We believe that God did open those doors for us, but not for the reasons we were anticipating,” Theodos explained. “There was a lot of disappointment and doubts during the backside of this journey, but they made me and my wife stronger, and we’re better for it.”
Theodos’ faith was ultimately what got him through the roller coaster of dreamchasing. “Faith and trusting in Jesus was a lifeboat during this season,” Theodos said. “It’s not always an easy prayer to pray for God’s will, but there is no doubt in my mind that everything happened exactly how it was supposed to.”
Theodos and Garrett sat backstage of the Dolby Theater one day and prayed that God would move in both of them. “We prayed that He would provide the right opportunities for both of us,” Theodos said. “And I absolutely believe that He did that.”
It might be the end of the “American Idol” journey, but it’s definitely not the end of the road for Alive by Sunrise. “We’re booked solid for our worship tour this summer, doing worship for churches, conferences and youth camps,” Theodos said. The band will also be touring in August and September in support of their new album releasing in May.
Alive by Sunrise currently has an EP on iTunes, a worship album on iTunes, and a new EP set to release within the next month and a half. “Right Now,” a single from the new EP, featured on “American Idol,” is also on iTunes.
–Betsy St. Amant Haddox