CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You won't see Brandon Green on "American Idol" when season 11 kicks off Wednesday, but you just might see him next year.
On Christmas day, the 20-year-old from Chelyan won a Dream Ticket at Disney World's American Idol Experience attraction. It allows him VIP treatment at this summer's auditions for season 12. He'll get to bypass the line and pre-screenings and go straight in to sing for the judges at whatever audition he chooses.
American Idol Experience opened at Disney World in 2009. It replicates the hit show on a smaller scale.
"You have to go through preliminaries and different auditions," said Green, who was at the park with his dad and stepmom. "They audition you first on the street, then if they think you're good enough, they take you inside to meet a producer. If he thinks you're good enough, he'll put you in one of the shows for the people at the park."
Shows take place hourly from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., each featuring three people selected by the producer. A live audience of 1,000 people then votes for their favorite singer, using electronic keypads on the seats. The seven preliminary winners compete in a final round at 7 p.m.
Green, a Riverside High School show choir veteran and two-time "Charleston's Teen Idol" finalist, first auditioned at 1 p.m. He passed, sang for the producer and was put in the 4 p.m. preliminary show. There, he sang Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts the Most," one of his choices from an approved list of songs.
The set was just like the real thing, he said, noting that the rest of the experience was similar, too. "There were judges on the final show, and you went through all the stuff it would be like if you were on the show -- a vocal coach, hair and makeup, rehearsal time."
He even had fans.
"During the day, after I won the first show, I was out in the park and I had people come up to take pictures and ask me to sign autographs," he said. "It was crazy!"