Vancouver teen featured Thursday on ‘American Idol’

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter

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Daniel Seavey loves making people happy. To help him do that, he’s got a sweet, clear, startlingly strong vibrato and a familiar way around the piano keys and guitar strings.

“I just like to spread joy,” he said.

He wasn’t too overjoyed to miss the Portland auditions for “American Idol,” though. The 15-year-old Vancouver resident happened to be on a church mission when the show’s audition bus came through town in search of new talent. His dad, Jeff, had promised to let him try out, but the timing just didn’t work in the end. Daniel figured the nationwide talent show wasn’t in the cards for him.

Jeff Seavey figured otherwise. He and Daniel flew down to San Francisco for an audition for the show’s 14th season.

“We kind of just did it out of fun,” Daniel said. He added: “Without my parents, I wouldn’t have been able to do this at all.”

Nobody’s allowed to say how things turned out. You’ll have to see for yourself at 8 p.m. Thursday on “American Idol” on Fox (Channel 12).

Or, you can even join Daniel in person at his school, Union High School, to watch the show on a big screen with a big group of fans and friends. Daniel said it seems like “half of Vancouver” has already promised to turn out. The viewing party gets underway with 10 minutes to spare, at 7:50 p.m., at Union, 6201 N.W. Friberg-Strunk St., Camas.

Daniel remembered starting to show some musical flair when he grabbed his sister’s toy piano and ran around the house with it, figuring out melodies by ear. He eventually graduated to a garage sale keyboard, he said, and then to street gigs in Portland.

“Just little gigs, little events,” he said.

Now, here comes a huge one.

“When I sing I just feel, it’s so unique,” he said. “It feels all-natural. It just comes to me so easily.”