Samson native auditioning on “American Idol”

SAMSON, Ala (WDHN) — A high school student from western Geneva County is going in front of the bright lights this weekend, auditioning for “American Idol.”

Brant McCollough seems like most teenagers in rural America. Born and raised in Samson, McCollough is the quarterback for the Kinston Bulldogs.

But this small-town boy has talents beyond the gridiron.

“When he was very young, probably nine or ten years old, he would sing very little, and we heard it, and we loved it,” said McCollough’s mother, Tracy, “but he was embarrassed. He was shy, very shy.”

Even though his talent emerged at a young age, it wasn’t until 2023 that he received nationwide attention when a simple video on TikTok went viral, changing his life.

“I made a little TikTok account, and posted some videos on there. None of my family knew about it,” said McCollough. “I just started posting on there, and one kind of blew up. I turned it into a music account.”

After his family saw the video gain more and more traction, they knew it was time to take things seriously. Soon, he was signed up for the hit TV series American Idol.

McCollough and his family recently traveled to Tuskegee, Alabama, the hometown of legendary singer and Idol judge Lionel Ritchie, for auditions. That performance and the results will air on Sunday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. on WDHN.

The young country singer said he made several long-lasting relationships at the auditions.

“They said you’d meet people that will be your friends for the rest of your life, and I said, ‘Nah, you won’t.’ But you will. I’ve made some pretty good friends,” McCollough said.

With all this new-found fame coming at him at a young age, McCollough’s parents said it can be challenging to keep his head on straight.

“You do have to ring him in sometimes. He has to remember he’s not an adult. He’s still a child,” said Tracy McCollough. “With publicity and with people looking up to him and loving him the way they do. Sometimes, I think he feels more grown than what he is.”

Even with all the fame directed his way, McCollough says he wants to shine a light on the place he calls home.

“Putting Samson on the map is pretty cool. I grew up in Samson, I live in Samson, and I go to school in Kinston. So, it feels good to put them on the map. Just to say where I come from,” said McCollough.

The TikTok video that launched him to stardom has 600,000 views and over 100,000 likes.

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