Utah’s former contestants discuss new season of ‘American Idol’

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SALT LAKE CITY -- "American Idol" Season 14 kicked off Wednesday night in high gear with this year’s thousands of Idol hopefuls. The usual suspects are back at the judges’ table, including Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban.

Just last year, we had two Utahns who were in their shoes; Park City’s Austin Wolfe and Draper’s Kenz Hall. Both made it through to the Hollywood round.

FOX 13 News caught up with them Wednesday to see what they’ve been up to and what they think about this upcoming season.

It was clear that both girls are still very much involved in music and striving for careers in the music industry. Both are still crediting their time on "American Idol" for helping to launch their careers.

A year after their nerve-filled auditions and songs to stay in the game, Austin and Kenz have grown, learned and had a few epiphanies.

“Still I’m very shy and quiet, and that part of me is still true--but I’m 100 times more confident on stage,” Kenz said.

Austin told FOX 13, “The show kind of helped me realize that I do need that much more experience, and I need to get out and try things before I can go right at it.”

Both told FOX 13 they are focused on developing their own music styles and careers, but, when they have time, they’ll collaborate on music. For the first time since "American Idol", they sang together for FOX 13’s cameras.

It doesn’t take long to see the bond between these two teen singer/songwriters. Sitting side-by-side, Austin explained, “We’ve been working really hard to do some shows together and keep in touch.”

Kenz jumped in, “We still like Snapchat and have ugly face contests.” Just one of many giggles between the two.

It was all smiles as they remembered getting each other through the American Idol gauntlet.

Kenz said, “It was nice to have someone just to call and be like, ‘Are you doing this today? Are you freaking out about this too?’”

Austin added, “What are you gonna wear? Give me a dress.”

As they look forward to watching Season 14 of Idol, they had a few words of wisdom for this year’s contestants.

Austin said, “I would tell everyone to just enjoy the experience because it’s so fun and it doesn’t last very long so you kind of have to enjoy it while you’re there.”

Kenz added, “My advice would be to eat and sleep whenever you can, whenever you get an opportunity, make connections with people that work there as well as make friends, and trust your gut because you’re the reason you got there.”

Neither girl decided to audition again for this season. Both said they want to focus on college next year and pursue other avenues and opportunities in music.