NORWICH – Norwich native Kaitlyn Jackson auditioned for the national singing competition American Idol in Boston and has earned herself the ‘golden ticket’ to Hollywood.
Area residents gathered around their televisions to watch the 15-year-old local favorite perform her original song “Another Angel” in front of Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr.
Jackson has performed in front of thousands in the past, and Wednesday night’s nationally televised prime time show garnered her attention from new fans all over the country.
Some local residents who have watched Jackson grow into a singer and songwriter were brought to tears by her performance, which was also deemed emotional by the judges.
During her audition, Jackson made reference to her roots in Chenango County, and her performance at the Chenango County Fair when she was 11. She shared her story about her grandfather’s heart attack in the grandstands. His life was saved by EMTs that day, and the event inspired Jackson to compose her own song, “Another Angel,” which she sang for her audition.
“Unfortunately, he did pass away the day after I wrote it, so he never got to hear it,” she told the judges.
“If you can write a song like that, and be inspired like that, and need to write about that and you’re 15 ... wow,” said Keith Urban.
Harry Connick Jr. added, “You mentioned that your grandpa never heard it ... I disagree. I can start the voting process by saying 100 percent absolutely.”
Of Jackson following the audition, Jennifer Lopez said, “She is smart, and she has heart.”
“I haven't watched American Idol in years. But growing up with a brother who is a musician, I know how much hometown support means to the performer,” said Norwich resident Cassie Andrews, who tuned in to the premiere episode.
“She is talented as a singer and a songwriter. It was nice to feel our community rally around something positive. I can't wait to follow her journey,” Andrews added.
Area resident John Kampe also watched her performance and said, “I love when someone bolsters the spirit of the town. It’s great.”
Social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter were filled with comments and posts about a hometown favorite. Some gathered in groups to watch the audition together.
“You know what, I think it’s kind of cool,” said Eric Guinn after witnessing Jackson receive the ticket to Hollywood, where the next round of the singing competition takes place.
The second episode of American Idol airs tonight on FOX. Auditions air Wednesdays and Thursdays through January, and “Hollywood Week” will air 8-10 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Jackson was unavailable for comment to the media.
For more information on Jackson and her music, visite her website at kaitlynjacksonmusic.com.