My Dream Come True: From Chicken Soup For The American Idol Soul

Excerpt From Scott Savol
Top 10, Season 4

When I think about my upbringing, it’s amazing I made it to Number 5 in American Idol’s Season 4.

Sometimes it seems like a dream. Did I really get put through in all those rounds? Did I really spend months in Hollywood and meet Hall & Oates, Tony Orlando, and LL Cool J? Did I really tour the U.S. and perform in front of hundreds of thousands of screaming fans shouting my name?

I know it was real, because American Idol made my lifelong dream come true.

When I was younger, I made a lot of poor choices. I wasn’t exactly a bad kid, but I wasn’t a poster child for “Boy of the Year,” either. All I ever really wanted was for my dad to love me and be proud of me. I wanted to be good enough in his eyes. I never blamed my dad for the way he was; I knew he’d had a tough childhood with his father leaving and all.

What I regret most is that I hung out with friends instead of doing schoolwork. I notice that a lot of the kids who studied hard and went to college are making six figures now, and the kids who didn’t pay attention to their grades are serving those guys burgers when they cruise into the drive-through with their nice wheels.

I always figured I’d be a burger flipper because, for as long as I can remember, I was told that I would never amount to anything. After a while I started to believe it, and it really pulled me down.

When I was ten, I loved Bon Jovi and would put on his music and sing by myself in my room. It was my Aunt Janet who encouraged me to sing with her in church. I loved to sing for the same reason most singers do: to make people happy. My dad said that I’d never be good enough to do more than sing in my bedroom.

When I decided to audition for Idol in Cleveland, I didn’t tell anyone I was going. If I didn’t make it through, I didn’t want “I-told-you-so” thrown in my face.

Even though I knew I wasn’t the typical American Idol type, I had nothing to lose. I just told myself that no one could stop me from living my dreams but me. And in my deepest heart of hearts, I believed it would happen for me one day. I made it through the first three rounds and headed to Hollywood.

Next thing I knew, I went from the hundreds in Hollywood to the Top 24 to the Final 12, and kept getting voted back week after week. I was eventually voted off at Number 5 and went home for a few weeks between that night and the Finale.

The day I landed in Cleveland will remain in my mind forever. As I stepped off the plane and walked through the airport, I was met by hundreds of screaming fans — girls crying, people reaching out to touch me, and all these banners and signs saying, “Scotty, We Love You.” Of course, my mom was there as well. She had never stopped cheering for me and had buffered the negative media — something all Idols have to deal with.

But all I saw was my dad, sitting in a wheelchair because of his knee surgery, at the end of the concourse. I walked straight over and hugged him. He cried and squeezed me hard. Then I heard the words I’d been waiting twenty-eight years for: “I missed you, Scott. I love you, son. I’m really proud of you.”

I might have lived my whole life until my dad passed, never doing anything spectacular or making him proud of me. But now my dad saw that I was someone people looked up to as a singer and admired as a role model.

It might have taken twenty-eight years and millions of people voting for me week after week, but I say, “Better late than never.” If it took American Idol to make it happen, so be it. But I did it — I got the one vote that meant more to me than all the others combined. I got my dad’s vote, and made my lifelong dream come true.

(Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul: Stories from the Idols and their Fans that Open Your Heart and Make Your Soul Sing).
Sabung Ayam