Lots of American Idol contestants ask for a second chance to impress the judges when they hear “no” initially.
Johnny Newcomb got one of those second chances.
What’s more, he changed the judges’ minds. Or at least enough minds to earn a trip to Hollywood.
The 17-year-old from Maryville, Tenn., auditioned with Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss.” Though the song went well, the judges seemed to agree Johnny wasn’t quite ready for the Idol stage.
Johnny asked to try a second song and launched into an even more impressive version of The Steel Drivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been for Love.”
Harry Connick Jr. still wasn’t impressed, but Jennifer Lopez said Johnny was too good to say no to. Then Keith Urban cast the deciding vote in his favor.
“Getting that golden ticket was incredible, because I just barely got it,” Johnny says in his Road to Hollywood video. “Coming out with it and showing my parents … well, they started crying. I almost cried. It was a wonderful moment.”
A student at Heritage High School back in Tennessee, Johnny told his hometown newspaper, The Daily Times, that he’s been playing guitar for about 12 years and first learned classic rock because his father loved it.
He told Idol his musical inspirations include Elvis Presley.
And though Harry thought Johnny was too closely mimicking Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder during his audition, the teen says he thinks one of his strengths is his ability to pull from a variety of his favorite artists to create his own sound. He says he also writes his own music.
Oh, and here’s another interesting tidbit. Since auditioning together in Salt Lake City, Johnny and fellow Idol contestant D.J. Bradley have started playing shows together as Arcane Fables, according to Johnny’s Facebook page.
And here’s a link to Johnny’s Twitter account (@johnnynukem27).
Below, I’m embedding one of Johnny’s originals, a cover and a song he performs with D.J.
For profiles of more than 90 other Season 13 contestants, head here.
“The Scientist” (Coldplay cover)
“Nothing Feels Right” (original)
“Hallelujah” (with D.J. Bradley)