Tessa Kate wound up being the very last singer we met during American Idol’s audition episodes.
And her version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” certainly ended the auditions on a bright note, and not just because of the multi-colored dress she donned for the occasion.
Harry Connick Jr., often the toughest judge to please, said he “really dug” her performance and complimented her on having “a classic, timeless sound.”
And so the 25-year-old from Harrison, Ark., breezed into the Hollywood round, effectively shaking off the case of nerves the hit her just before she performed.
“I was feeling really calm, but now I feel like I grabbed an electric fence — the kind that holds the cows back, not just the little animals,” the personable young lady told Idol.
We also learned from her audition clip that Tessa sells tickets for cruise excursions as her day job, but also works as an entertainer in Branson, Missouri.
On Facebook, Tessa describes herself as a singer/songwriter, “born and raised a country girl, but I love a little bit of every kind of music.”
Part of that musical inspiration comes from her father, who passed away when Tessa was younger.
“He had played guitar and sang for me my whole life, and he just had a voice like none other,” Tessa says.
She also admires Adele, though as much for her songwriting skills as her voice.
“I love people who just bare their heart lyrically,” she says. “What I really, really love and respect about people, is when their lyrics are so honest and head straight to your heart.”
Tessa also took to heart something the judges said about her performance: That she might not have the powerhouse voice of some other contestants, but that she’s unique in her own way.
Meanwhile, you can hear more in the videos below.
For profiles of more than 90 other Season 13 contestants, head here.
“Angel from Montgomery”
“Folsom Prison Blues” (live)
“Role Model” (with Ronnie Long)