This Cop Drove 10 Hours to Audition on "American Idol"

dare to dream

See if he makes it tonight at 8 p.m. EST on FOX.

Jan 15, 2014 | 11:08 PM

"I sing from the time I wake up until the time I go to work," says 26-year-old West Virginia University police officer Carlton Smith. He is one of the contestants whose audition you'll see on tonight's premiere of "American Idol" Season 13.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Smith graduated with a bachelor's in criminology from WVU in 2009, and soon after joined the university's police department. "As a police officer, I am helping people by getting to the bottom of something. I am helping find out what happened," he said.

However, Smith's real passion has always been music. He's enjoyed it as a hobby since age 5, and continues to pursue it seriously in his time off.

Such was the case during the 10-hour drive from Morgantown, W.V., to Boston, Massachusetts, when he belted out gospel, R&B, and pop tunes in preparation for his face-off with celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr

"Winning something like this would be life-changing and would validate my passion," said Smith, who hopes to change careers in order to "make an impact on a larger scale."

"Music is one of the biggest ways to make an impact. Everyone can relate to it. One person could listen to a song or 100 million people could listen to a song and they would all get something different out of it. Either way, I want to make a difference. I want to help people, and I want to make a difference."

Don't miss tonight's premiere of "American Idol" Season 13 to find out if Carlton Smith gets closer to his life-long dream. 

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