Local Malibu resident sings his way to ‘American Idol’

Carson Higgins talks about his experience on the show where he competed against thousands of contestants to make it to the top 50.

By Homaira Shifa / Special to The Malibu Times

The stage is set. Millions of people are watching. Three judges are waiting to see who to eliminate. It is a once in a lifetime moment.

This is the feeling that Malibu resident Carson Higgins experienced every week on the talent search show, “American Idol.”

“At that moment I would be doing jumping jacks to get the blood flowing to the surface of my skin,” Higgins said. “I just remind myself that I have done this a million times, that it’s a fun thing to do and that I’m just showing people how much I love it.”

A Malibu High School graduate, Higgins competed against thousands of contestants to make it to the top 50 on Season 10 of “American Idol.”

The 23-year-old has followed “American Idol” from the first season and couldn’t believe he was actually part of it as a contestant.

“While a lot of people watch the show to see the bad contestants,” Higgins said, “I always watched it for the good people and tried learning from them.”

Although Higgins did not go on to the semifinals, he said his life has changed since the show. Several people have contacted him for representation and he said he is very excited about all the new opportunities.

“American Idol” is a reality television show that aims to discover the next best singer in the country. A panel of judges comprised of Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler critiques the contestants every week.

“The new judges are the best judges the show has ever had,” Higgins said. “They provide positive feedback and constructive criticism. They really give you the benefit of the doubt. I really learned a lot just by listening to them.”

Higgins performances were noted for his charm and energy. 

Higgins compared the atmosphere of the show to summer camp. All the contestants stay at the same hotel and are all there for the same reason, he said.

“On television it looks like a competition,” Higgins said. “But while you’re there, it feels like you’re a bunch of friends. It doesn’t feel like you’re competing with each other, it’s more like you’re competing with yourself.”

Higgins’ father, Kelly Higgins, said his son has always been an entertainer.

“I have video of him singing from when he was 5 years old,” Kelly said. “Whenever there was a stage, he’d be on it as a baby.”

Kelly, who owns Malibu Auto Service, said being a performer has skipped a generation in his family.

“My father was in the original Mickey Mouse Club and worked for Walt Disney,” Kelly said.

Higgin’s mother, Kathy, owns a nail salon in Malibu and said her son’s experience on “American Idol” made it more fun at the salon.

“The clients would come in and want to know what’s going on in the show,” Kathy said. “I am very proud of him.”

Kathy has been watching the show from the beginning and described seeing her son on the show as “surreal.”

Kathy said her favorite part of the whole experience was sitting at home with her son and listening to him playing the guitar as he prepared for the shows.

“He has a huge heart,” Kathy said. “He really cares about people. And that’s what I’m most proud of about him-the good parts he has when no one’s watching.”

Her son, she said, has a great passion to perform.

“When he was watching Disney movies as a child, if he could have, he would have climbed into it [the television] and been a part of it.”

Higgins attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and graduated with the Voice and Speech Award in 2008. An actor as well, his most recent part was in the Fox series “Raising Hope.”

“I love watching movies,” Higgins said. “I have over 500 DVDs, all alphabetized.”

Since “American Idol,” Higgins has been spending a great deal of time playing music. He said he made a lot of really good friends from the show, but if he had to choose, he’d want Casey Abrams, the 19-year-old from Colorado, to win.

“Every time he would sing, it would make me smile,” Higgins said.

Abrams is one of the semi-finalists and was hospitalized for stomach pain after last week’s performance, but he is better now and going on with the show. 

“The competition is really stiff and there are a lot of really talented people,” Higgins said. “I can’t believe I was in the same league as them.”

Higgins has an older sister who is currently studying in San Francisco. In his free time he loves spending time on the beach in Malibu.

“I’ll always and forever be from Malibu and I love that I got to be Malibu’s representative!”

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