Detroit — Music runs in the family for Kevin Stewart Jr.

His grandfather, Darrell Nunlee, was with the Contours, which signed with Motown Records in 1960 and recorded hits like "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)."

On Tuesday in Detroit at the TCF Center, formerly Cobo Center, Stewart was a hit with "American Idol" judges with his version of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey, "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke and "That's What I Like" by Bruno Mars.

The Detroit native was one of several singers advance to the next round of the competition during auditions in Detroit.

Stewart, 27, had tried out for "The Voice" in Chicago and "Sunday Best," a singing competition on BET, in Detroit.

"Idol" host Ryan Seacrest was nowhere to be seen at TCF Center on Tuesday, and neither were the TV show's normal slate of judges.

Singers who advance past the second round have the opportunity to sing before Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie in celebrity-judged competitions throughout the United States this fall.  


Judges at the American Idol open call auditions in Detroit on Tuesday selected Grosse Pointe Woods resident Joselen Fielder to go onto the next round Evan Carter, The Detroit News

Joselen Fielder, 16, also moved on Tuesday to the next round of the competition.

"After they gave me the ticket, I had to go grab my mom and I walked in front of a whole bunch of people and they were clapping for me and stuff, and it was kind of surreal," Fielder said.

For her audition, Fielder of Grosse Pointe Woods performed songs from "The Wiz," Ariana Grande and Beyoncé during her audition.

Contestants began lining up at 6 a.m. outside along the east side of TCF Center. At one point, the line of contestants stretched from the Michigan Labor Legacy Monument in Hart Plaza to the east side of the TCF Center, a show representative said.

As they waited, contestants warmed up and sang with other contestants.

"Idol" senior supervising producer Patrick Lynn said Detroit always is on the list of the top 10 places the show  likes to go.

"Motown, Detroit, the people, everything. This is a great town for us," Lynn said. 

Matthew Karsten, 28, a flight attendant for Allegiant Air, wantedone more chance to compete in "American Idol" before he aged out of the competition when he turns 29. He did not advance to the next round.

The Niles resident came with two coworkers who he said encouraged him to audition.

"I thought (the audition) went great. I really enjoyed the experience being around other singers and songwriters and people who believe in what music can do," Karsten said. "I think it went really well. It wasn't what they were looking for, but I'm not going to let that stop me."

Dan Rodaire of Ypsilanti moved to the next round. 

The 26-year-old was accompanied by guitarist Jermy Skidmore, who is in a band with Rodaire, when he sang "Kimberly" by Patti Smith.

Rodaire used to participate in musical theater and later non-musical productions, but said he recently discovered that his true passion is music.

"I realized that music is what I love the most," Rodaire said. "The more I sang, the better I got at it."


Dan Rodaire, left, from Ypsilanti was selected to go to the next round of American Idol by judges in Detroit on Tuesday. Jeremy Skidmore, right, accompanied. Evan Carter, The Detroit News

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter

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