‘American Idol’ Long Beach & San Antonio Auditions: Such Great Heights
While multiple doctors were never able to attribute Matheus's height, or lack thereof, to any specific medical problem--"You're just plain short!" was their eventual shrugging diagnosis--that didn't stop schoolmates from bullying Matheus when he was a child, and it certainly didn't stop Matheus, now 21 and still barely as tall as a 12-year-old, from harboring doubts about his future in showbiz. "For a while, I didn't think I had much of a chance, because of how different I am," he confessed to "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest this Wednesday. But eventually Matheus came to the conclusion that "I wouldn't change a thing, because it made me who I am," and then he strutted into the Long Beach, California, "Idol" audition room with Bunyon-esque confidence--even joking to the judges, "My first question is, is there a height limit on this show?"
Matheus proceeded to belt out Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," and there was no limit to his vocal range. The judges were all astounded. "To sing a song like that, you've got to know what challenge, struggle, and adversity are--and you have that in spades," marveled Keith Urban. "We're looking for a unique, special person, and you fit that bill," declared Nicki Minaj. A misty-eyed Mariah Carey told Matheus, "You hit me in the heart; you could sing anything for me, any day of the week"--at which point Matheus started to tear up as well. And Randy Jackson preached, "I know society can be crazy and harsh, but we don't put up with any of that around here. To me, you're 10 feet tall right now."
This was an amazing TV moment, for sure...but it was interesting that zero mention was made of the great TV moments that Matheus had experienced in the past, when he was the eighth-place finalist on Season 1 of "The Glee Project," an Oxygen Network talent search for new "Glee" cast members. (Matheus was actually a frontrunner for several weeks on that show.) While Matheus was perfect for "The Glee Project" and its cast of singing misfits, it's true that "TGP" was more of a cult program; "American Idol" is a whole other platform, one that could take Matheus's career to an entirely higher level (no pun intended). It's possible that Matheus's existing fanbase will give him a major advantage going forward on "Idol," but it remains to be seen if mainstream viewers will really accept Matheus as easily as "The Glee Project's" more niche audience did. Let's hope that Randy was right, and that a real change is finally gonna come in Matheus's life.