CENLA IDOL | History


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FOX 48 is the proud host of the Cenla Idol series of annual off-air singing competitions, based on the Fox television show American Idol.

The local competition began in late 2002 exclusively on local radio station KQID-FM, but eventually changed in the summer of 2003 as FOX 48 became the exclusive host.

WNTZ legally sanctioned Cenla Idol with Fox as the official local American Idol competition and must legally sanction the competition each television season.

Winners are rewarded with travel to a locale where the American Idol auditions are held each season and given a guaranteed audition for the show's producers.

Format of the Competition

Cenla Idol has varied in format over the years.

Auditions are open to the public within the Alexandria market under American Idol's age guidelines. Contestants compete and are judged by a panel of local dignataries in an initial audition and final performance round (or a two-part semifinal and final, known as the "Finale").

One notable finale judge in 2010 was Scott Savol, fifth-place finisher during the fourth season of American Idol.

The Final Round/Finale is held in a large venue and produced as a stage show, similar to what is seen on the live competition performances on American Idol.  In 2011, the Finale was held at the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center in downtown Alexandria, the third time the venue has held the event. Alexandria Mall has hosted the Finale five times (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2012), and Hixson Ford's showroom hosted the Finale in 2005.

From 2003-2006, a sing-off quarterfinal round aired on a partnered radio station, which allowed listeners to call-in to vote for their favorite contestant. When voting on the radio was disallowed by American Idol producers in 2010, contestants sang on the radio in a non-elimination exhibition round in order to garner support for their fans to attend that year's Finale.

In 2003 and 2004, the "Idol Twist" format was originated and introduced, sending the highest-scored individual from the auditions immediately to the Finale. In 2005, 2011 and 2012, the ten semifinalists were immediately selected to the Finale.

In 2006 and 2010, the auditions were expanded to "audition cities" around the market, mimicking the American Idol format in which contestants are allowed to audition multiple times (once in each "city") and given more opportunities to advance in the competition.

Natchez Idol

In 2004, FOX 48 not only produced Cenla Idol, a second Natchez Idol competition for viewers in the Miss-Lou region was produced.  The Natchez Idol competition was partnered on the radio by the First Natchez Radio Group of stations.  That year, a contestant from Alexandria won both competitions.


Cenla Idol has proved to be an enormous success as two notable contestants from the competition made it past the initial audition rounds to advance to the Hollywood rounds of ''American Idol''.

Pineville native Dezmond Meeks, finishing third in 2003's competition, auditioned in Orlando, Florida for season four of American Idol. In one of the season's more memorable auditions, Meeks auditioned to James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", where judge Paula Abdul said to fellow judges Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, "I quit!", if he did not advance to Hollywood. Meeks awaits an answer, and after about a minute of debating, Meeks made it through the audition after Randy Jackson folded. Meeks was eventually eliminated prior to naming the Top 45 contestants. Meeks was among four contestants who were either born or lived in the Alexandria market who made it to the Hollywood rounds phase of American Idol, the most from any market in the U.S. for season four.

Shreveport native Jenny Snider, who won Cenla Idol in 2006, made it past the judges in the Memphis, Tennessee audition for season six of American Idol to go to Hollywood and was lightly featured on the show. Her Hollywood auditions were also cut short after two rounds.

Cenla Idol Winners
Among the thirteen winners of Cenla Idol, eleven have won in their first attempt.


Taylor Spring
Natchez, Miss.

AI Audition:
Season 14 "Silver Ticket",
New Orleans


Jonas Augustine
Pollock, La.

AI Audition:
Season 12, Baton Rouge



Shawn Aycock
Pineville, La.

AI Audition:
Season 11, Houston



Trey Thomas
Deville, La.

AI Audition:
Season 10, New Orleans


Desmone Sanders
Pineville, La.

AI Audition:
Season 9, Dallas


Jacey Cornell
Lecompte, La.

AI Audition:
Season 8


Jenny Snider
Shreveport, La.

AI Audition:
Season 6, Memphis


Naomi Carroll
West Monroe, La.

AI Audition:
Season 5, Chicago


Terry Perry
Alexandria, La.

AI Audition:
Season 4, New Orleans

2004 Natchez Idol

Deirdra Allen
Alexandria, La.

AI Audition:
Season 4, New Orleans


Jason Bordelon
Marksville, La.

AI Audition:
Season 3, Atlanta


Rodney Jones
Alexandria, La.




Lance Welch
Montgomery, La.


American Idol returns January 2015!

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