PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - Every year, singers with their eyes and hearts focused on the bright lights, make a run at super-stardom. With the return of American Idol to televisions across the nation, even during a global pandemic, a Pass Christian girl is hoping to bring home the title.
Camille Lamb is no stranger to belting out tunes into a microphone. She got her start in church, but she never really “got it” until she traveled west.
“I didn’t really take singing seriously until I started singing in church. I used to sing at the OLG church at the 5:00 mass. I grew older and moved to New Orleans. I started gigging in the French Quarter. That’s where I gained all of my experience. Then, COVID happened and I moved home,” she said.
So, Lamb traded 26 miles of white sandy Gulf beaches for West Coast beaches.
“Not a lot of people know that we have such a beautiful town and a really beautiful beach. So it’s cool to go out there and say, ‘We live on the water in South Mississippi and we live a coastal life similar to you all.’ But I love this place. I’m born and raised here and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
Despite the fact that she’s been invited to “Hollywood Week,” this isn’t her first venture into the world of American Idol.
“Well, you know, it really started back in 2016. I tried out for American Idol and I wasn’t ready. I was so young. I had really just started my music journey,” she said. “Then, this year I saw that American Idol was doing ‘Idols Across America’ and that it was Zoom auditions. I was like, wow, that seems pretty accessible. I signed up, I got a slot, and then I got the a-ok to head out to San Diego and perform, or audition, in front of the judges.”
The competition, Lamb says, is one-of-a-kind. Despite the stresses of competing against the best singers auditioning from around the nation, Lamb says that everyone is welcomed into the family from day one.
“The moment that you get there, they let you know that you are part of the American Idol family, regardless of what happens,” she said. “So I walked in feeling very comfortable. I think the hardest part was facing off against your competition. Everyone cares about each other, all of the contestants, and we want each other to do well. But at the end of the day, it’s a competition. You’re watching some of these incredible singers come out with a golden ticket and you’re like, ‘What am I doing here, do I belong?’ It’s really a mind battle.”
And now that she’s able to perform with some of the best on one of the most state-of-the-art stages in the country, Lamb says she feels like she’s made it.
“Here in South Mississippi, there’s not a ton of people doing music. Sure, there are people doing music, but not a ton,” she said. “The moment for me was when I realized I’m in California running with the wolves, and I have a place. I’m competing with the top-of-the-top and I’m doing it. I’m making it, and I’m progressing in the competition.”
The competition has made mega-celebrities of average people for decades now. That thought doesn’t shy Lamb away from where it all started.
“I am really proud to call South Mississippi home and will call this place home for the rest of my life. [If I were to win], coming back home would be exactly what I’d do. I’d want to come back and give this place homage,” she said.
Knowing that hundreds of thousands of people audition for American Idol each year, Lamb says that determination is what has propelled her through.
“Success isn’t won without failure,” she said. “You will be told ‘no’ and that’s what the judges tell you. They’ve said that, ‘We’ve been told no many times and here we are the judges of American idol and three mega-superstars.’ So no is not something that should stop you. It’s do you get back up and try again, so I would tell [anyone wanting to try out] to take the initiative and set up your future for yourself. You’re the only one that can do it. So, get it going and keep practicing,” she said.
In her appearance on March 22, Lamb passed through to the next round after performing “You Don’t Own Me” with partner Althea.
Lamb continues her quest to become the next American Idol as the show continues weekly on WLOX ABC.