In 2011, Scott Dangerfield broke Jennifer Lopez’s heart when he turned down American Idol’s “golden ticket” to Hollywood to finish his student teaching for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education.
In 2012, he’s back on “American Idol,” and he is going to Hollywood as a UWM alumnus and a state-certified teacher of social studies, history, political science and economics.
After completing the Middle Childhood/Early Adolescence program this past summer, Dangerfield (’11 BS Education) traveled to Houston for the 2012 “American Idol” auditions. Those auditions were broadcast on Fox last night and Dangerfield earned another coveted “golden ticket” – and he’s making the trip to Tinseltown this round. At least one entertainment blog predicts Scott will make it to the top 42 finalists.
Dangerfield wowed the Idol judges at a Milwaukee audition in July 2010, performing a soulful version of Amos Lee’s “Dreamin’.”
“You might be my favorite we’ve seen so far,” said Jennifer Lopez, one of the three judges.
“You blew me away,” added Steven Tyler.
Randy Jackson agreed: “Never judge a book by its cover – dude, you were hot!”
But, when Dangerfield found out that his visit to Hollywood for “American Idol” finals would conflict with his student teaching at Riverside University High School, he turned the trip down – much to the astonishment of fans, friends and his students.
“I had an obligation to the university, my students and my cooperating teacher,” says Dangerfield, who was teaching African-American history and economics at the time. “I’m still 100 percent behind the decision I made.
“I’d joke around with one of my students. He would always give me this look [rolls eyes] when I walked into the classroom and say, ‘you could have gone to Hollywood. I’d say, ‘and I gave it all up for you.'”
After footage of Dangerfield’s audition and surprise decision aired last season the entertainment gossip site TMZ picked up his story. Some of the “comments” were downright nasty.
“The vast majority of people supported me, but some people weren’t able to fathom someone giving up fame to be a teacher,” says Dangerfield. “I’m comfortable with the decision and that’s all that matters.”
He added that he will continue to pursue careers in both music and education.
His love of music comes naturally. His whole family is musically talented and Dangerfield. who grew up in Green Bay, is interested in a variety of genres. He’s played with various bands since high school and is currently with Crash County Music. Even without Hollywood fame the band is building a following with performances and regular postings of new videos on YouTube.
Dangerfield’s high school teachers, mother and sister inspired him to go into education. He chose UWM because of its focus on urban education. Student-teaching experiences in Milwaukee Public Schools’ Hartford Avenue University School middle-school program and Riverside University High School cemented his interest.
Dangerfield wants to stay in Wisconsin, and would like to work in MPS. However, he acknowledges that deep cuts to education funding, the scorn some politicians and their followers have heaped on teachers and the bleak job market in urban areas pose challenges.
“No matter what happens this season on ‘American Idol,’ Scott Dangerfield will always be an idol to us,” says School of Education Dean Carol Colbeck.
Dangerfield isn’t the only UWM idol. UWM Peck School of the Arts and “American Idol” alumna Naima Adedapo (’07 BFA Dance) made it into American Idol’s top 11 last season. She is destined to make even more music in 2012; news broke of her first record deal this week. The deal with Peak Records/eOne Music includes a three-song EP to be released in March, and is produced by Warryn Campbell (he’s worked with artists like Kanye West, Mos Def, Brandy).
Keep tabs on Adedapo at http://fanpagelist.com/user/naimaadedapo