A teen singer from Norwich, N.Y., Kaitlyn Jackson, makes ‘American Idol’ night one intriguing

From Norwich,  N.Y., teen Kaitlyn Jackson opened ears at her 'American Idol' audition. (From kaitlynjackson.com)

From Norwich, N.Y., teen Kaitlyn Jackson opened ears at her ‘American Idol’ audition. (From kaitlynjackson.com)

Part way into the Boston auditions that opened this new season of “American Idol” on Wednesday night, a 15-year-old singer introduced herself. Kaitlyn Jackson was her name. And she told of the night her grandpa fell ill while she was performing at the Chenango County Fair.

My ears perked up. That’s just down the road from Syracuse.

Jackson further explained how her grandpa was spared, and she wrote a song for him. But he passed before she could sing it the next day.

And Jackson wonderfully sang her gorgeous piece “Another Angel.”

The judges sat up tall. Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. praised Jackson and gave her that golden ticket to the Hollywood round.

The teenager from Norwich, N.Y., just may have provided the highlight of Idol’s first night of season 13.

It was a pleasing start. For the first time ever, Randy Jackson is not on the judging panel to woof, throw out his tired catch phrases and act like he knows more than he apparently does about this singing thing.

Urban returns from a solid season of turning his country music talents into wisdom for the competitors. Lopez is back after a hiatus to allow Mariah Carey take the pop diva role. Man, the singers loved having her on the panel again. Connick debuted as a judge, and showed that his New Orleans roots and time spent on the show as a mentor have shaped him as the hardest judge to please.

The chemistry between them did not grate at all. It was pretty good for the first two cities out. The Austin audition will continue tonight. I will have the DVR on while I’m at my bowling league.

There’s hope for an interesting year.

I’ll be rooting for Kaitlyn Jackson. I do not think she’s a one-trick pony. Click on her website, and you’ll find an extensive collection of photos and awards and a big list of singing accomplishments, including the Horizon Award for best new artist given out by the country hall of fame housed down south a tad in Cortland, N.Y.

And to further peak my interest, Jackson is not the first teen singer to perform country music and find a measure of fame from that part of upstate New York, you see.

A decade ago, Cassidy Lynn used to sing at the Chenango County Fair, too.

I followed her career closely, interviewing her happily a handful of times when I worked at the big daily. I watched and listened as she studied music at Onondaga County Community College, put out albums, found success in a couple of national online contests, graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, and got married. Last year, I talked to her on the phone for a story here before she came back north to play some gigs, including at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Syracuse’s Destiny USA.

It will be interesting to see how far Jackson can further her career taking the “American Idol” road.

Have you been a fan of “American Idol” the first 12 seasons? Have you debated about sticking with season 13 or giving it up? What did you think of the new panel of judges Wednesday night?

13 thoughts on “A teen singer from Norwich, N.Y., Kaitlyn Jackson, makes ‘American Idol’ night one intriguing

  1. Pingback: Catching up with Kaitlyn Jackson as ‘American Idol’ goes on without her | markbialczak

  2. Pingback: Good news, Kaitlyn Jackson fans. She made ‘American Idol’ group night | markbialczak

  3. I’ve gave up on American Idol when they started having singers that can’t sing, that don’t write their own songs, and know nothing about music in general as judges (yes, I’m talking about JLo..although she’s beyond gorgeous and fabulous…she’s an entertainer, not a singer).


    • I was impressed that this 15-year-old had such an interesting original song to sing for the audition, Beth. I’m interested in seeing how far this Central New Yorker can advance in the process!


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