American Idol has another singing cheerleader.
You’ll recall that back in Season 11, blonde beauty Brittany Kerr caused a stir when she hit the Idol stage.
A cheerleader for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats and an aspiring country singer, Britanny made it to Hollywood on Idol, but no farther.
During Idol’s Season 13 premiere Wednesday, we were introduced to Stephanie Petronelli, who cheers for a far better team (the New England Patriots) and arrives with a more impressive musical resume.
Stephanie’s musical aspirations clearly pre-date her NFL cheerleader days. Check out the ABC News video below, where she’s shown belting out Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead” and dreaming of someday gracing the stage at the CMA (Country Music Association) Awards.
For those of you (guys) anxious to learn more about Stephanie, I’ve compiled 10 fun facts, stocked with plenty of links. And, at the bottom of the blog, you can watch a couple of Stephanie’s pre-Idol performances.
#1. Some of Stephanie’s earliest singing gigs were at boxing rings around Brockton, Mass., when she was 12, according to this story in the Taunton Daily Gazette. Why boxing rings? Because her family ran a small gym and her great uncle trained Marvelous Marvin Hagler at one point.
#2. She was introduced to hip-hop dancing at a young age and became a featured performer on a multicultural dance team called Treasure Box, according to her CD Universe bio.
#3. She released a 2-track “My Day” CD in 2006 and a 7-track “Crush” CD two years later. Neither are available now, though Amazon marketplace has a used copy of the later for a cool $59. Or a new copy for … get this … $724.
#4. She tried out as a Patriot cheerleader at the urging of her mom and friends and joined the squad at age 20 in March 2010. By the following December, she was performing for troops in Afghanistan, Qatar and Kyrgyzstan with five of her cheerleader colleagues, singing four songs during an hour-long show. When traveling from base-to-base, sometimes in Black Hawk helicopters, they donned 40 pounds of protective gear. “If we weren’t performing, we were wearing armor,” Stephanie told The Gazette.
#5. According to her cheerleading bio on the official New England Patriots website, she is a strategic communications and relations major at Bridgewater State University.
#6. Stephanie has been a Patriot cheerleader for four years. Here’s the link you’ve been waiting for. To check out dozens of photos of her in action, head here.
#7. She has posed for four Patriot cheerleader swimsuit calendars, the latest of which was photographed in St. Lucia. Here’s a link to her Postcard from Paradise video. And here’s a link to a video postcard from Jamaica in 2012, where Stephanie ends with a humorous request of Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
#8. You can hear more current music from Stephanie on Soundcloud. Just head here to hear songs called “Sugar Coated Lies,” “Hypnotizing Me” and “Eyes of a Stranger.” These are not country songs. They’re pop and dance tunes. They were uploaded about two years ago and are certainly worth a listen.
#9. Asked who she would like to trade lives with in her cheerleader Q&A, Stephanie responds: “Taylor Swift. She has it all!”
#10. Asked about her dream proposal in the same Q&A, she responds: “On the 50-yard line after winning the Super Bowl.” Sorry, Stephanie, I’m rooting for Denver this weekend. By the way, for the full Q&A, go here.
Now, the videos …
On ABC News in June 2010, expressing her desire to follow Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert to the CMA stage.
Singing “Rolling in the Deep” in 2011
Singing the national anthem at Gillette Stadium in August 2012 when the Patriots hosted New Orleans (in a pre-season game, I’m presuming). She also performed the honors when the same teams met in 2010.