Remember the young man who had trouble staying awake in the waiting room for the American Idol auditions in Atlanta.
His name is Jesse Cline, and the 19-year-old was so tired because he’d driven eight hours from Ashland, Ky., after working a shift as a gas station attendant at Racer’s convenience store in Cannonsburg.
When he finally stepped on the audition stage, he didn’t look like the American Idol prototype.
But within in a few chords of his version of Needtobreathe’s “Washed by the Water,” you could tell the judges were pleased with what they heard.
Harry Connick Jr. called him “the ultimate Cinderella.” And all three Idol judges complimented him on his believability.
Jesse is a graduate of Boyd County High School back in Kentucky and told the Portsmouth Daily Times that he prefers playing contemporary popular music.
He’s another contestant who got to bypass the long lines at the Atlanta auditions by winning The American Idol Experience at Disney.
And, according to The Independent of Ashland, he also plays piano and has been singing since at least the third or fourth grade.
“Music is my passion,” Jesse says in his Road to Hollywood video. “It’s always been my passion. And I refuse to do anything else.
“A lot of time, people don’t expect the voice that I have to come out of the body I have,” he adds. “I think the element of surprise is essential.”
He said he is encouraged by the fact that he got yes votes from all three judges before he got to the chorus of his first song, while many auditioners he talked to said they were asked to sing two songs.
“That’s not something to feel bad about,” he says, smiling.
I’ve embedded video from a couple of non-Idol performances below.
Save Me (original)
Bright Lights (high school talent show)