It is no secret now that Caleb Hawley, a 2003 Hudson High School grad, was one of the contestants selected to move on to Hollywood, during this season's premiere of "American Idol," which aired on Jan. 19. Hawley's performance of "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," a Ray Charles hit, got judge Steven Tyler clapping and singing along. Judges Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez agreed with Tyler that Hawley, 25, deserved to advance to the Hollywood round of competition.
"He was really busy the next day," said Debbie O'Keefe his mother-in-law. "TMZ called him to see if they could come to his show that night." The TMZ crew did show up. To see the clip of Hawley
and his wife Samantha you may visit this link www.tmz.com/2011/01/22/american-idol-caleb-hawley-dog-butt-sunglasses-photo. Hawley was performing that night at The Living Room in New York City.
O'Keefe and over 30 other family members from both sides of the O'Keefe family joined by friends gathered at Agave Kitchen to watch the show, not sure if Caleb would be one of the contestants who received air time. Caleb's parents, Dale and Vicki, had to watch from Germany, where he is still on sabbatical.
Hawley auditioned in New Jersey, going through several rounds, performing at each level before he had a chance to sing for the judges. He was one of nearly 350 people nationwide to move on to the Hollywood level of competition.
On hand for the final audition in New Jersey in front of judges, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Johnson were Debbie O'Keefe, her daughter and Caleb's wife, Samantha Hawley, O'Keefe's sister Caroline Grupe and Grupe's daughter-in-law Sara Birkel. They all appeared in the pre-recorded segment that aired on Wednesday, including Grupe being picked up and twirled around by Ryan Seacrest, longtime host of the show.
"It was a long day," said O'Keefe. "We were there from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It was taped in September. It seems like ages ago."
"The stars must have been aligned," said O'Keefe. "There is just so much talent out there.
"We had such a great time that weekend."
Since the show aired life has been pretty crazy for Caleb and Samantha.
"Literally within minutes both of our phones were ringing," said Samantha. "People were texting."
The couple had some friends over to watch the show.
"I am so thankful they showed him," said Samantha. "Moments after the segment aired he had over 100 new friend requests on Facebook. Within a couple of days it was up to 500 new friends."
The show scheduled for Feb. 12 in Minneapolis sold out. They are trying to add a second show at the Aster Café for the same night.
It was a coincidence that Caleb had a show scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Living Room in New York City. With his new found 'Stardom' TMZ showed up to tape him before he performed.
"I'm back to normal," said Samantha, who admits to being in a bit of a zone the first couple of days. "But Caleb and I continue to try to stay on top of everything. It is the media so when you are hot you have to take advantage of it."
After the airing of "Idol," Caleb posted this on his website: "Everybody has dreams and some sort of bucket list. These dreams span from realistic to far-fetched, to the utterly ridiculous that we keep just because, hey, you never know, if every circumstance falls directly into place at exactly the right time, then maybe "it could happen.
"Over the last few days I have had some experiences that have been beyond crazy. It all started when I had the attention of twenty-five million people sitting in their living room staring at a TV. I've played house concerts for twenty-five people in the past, so I guess this was kind of like playing a million of those simultaneously. Within hours I had more press and write-ups than I've received in my entire life, and more exposure than I thought I would get in eighty years of hard work. I even was followed by TMZ and featured on "Access Hollywood." Once again, INSANE!!! I've been recognized multiple times by people on the street and even got to sign autographs to a standing line of girls. Check and check.
Even though this "fame" is fun, I still know where I stand... I'm self-aware and able to realize that this is most likely just a moment. It's just a couple of days that I get to feel like a star, which is a couple of days more than I ever expected. It's hard to believe I once considered myself an unlucky person... that was the dumbest thought of my life."
The next time you may or may not see Hawley on "Idol" is the week they show the Hollywood auditions. Stay Tuned.....