Harmon advances to the ‘Big Stage’ on ‘American Idol’

MALLORY JOHNSTON/BUY AT PHOTOS.MONROECOUNTYJOURNAL.COMFrom left, Amory Main Street Director Traci Huguley, Mayor Brad Blalock and Cindy Harmon show their support for Trent Harmon. In the past week, banners have come up across Amory, and pep rallies have been held in Amory and at the Mall at Barnes Crossing.

On Valentine’s Day, Trent Harmon spent about four hours on the phone calling to wish several of his Instagram followers a Happy Valentine’s Day. Last Thursday night, the anxiety of wondering if he would advance to the Top 14 of ‘American Idol’ made plenty more followers’ hearts thump in nervousness. The Amory musician was the last one announced to signify advancement into the next round, calming any nerves.

“Truly, I have mentally prepared but in that moment, I was thinking the math is not on my side. I thought, ‘I’ve had a good run. I made it to the Top 24 out of a bunch of people. It’s been a fairy tale.' And then, Jennifer Lopez called my name,” said Harmon in a telephone interview last Friday before having to cut it short for a production scene.

In the moment he hit the ground upon the news, Harmon said he said a quick prayer of thanks.

On a night last Wednesday when most contestants were met with criticism by celebrity judges for their song choices, Harmon had mostly positive praise by singing Grammy Award-winning country singer Chris Stapleton’s 2013 single, “What Are You Listening To?”

By no coincidence, the song reentered the iTunes top country downloads last Thursday, settling at #9, surpassing Stapleton’s two previous singles, ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ and ‘Nobody to Blame,’ for the day’s downloads.

“I have a friend who works at the Ryman [Auditorium in Nashville], and Chris Stapleton played there last night. He told me that he had to talk to him and told him that someone performed one of his songs on the show. When he told him which one it was, he seemed surprised. It was like I was in that conversation with Chris Stapleton,” Harmon said in amazement.

Like another dream coming true, Harmon performed a duo to the Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody’ last Thursday night with one of his favorite ‘American Idol’ alums, Jordin Sparks.

“It was easy for me to be a pupil under her. I followed her really closely the year she won. We would’ve been in the same grade in school then. The stars aligned,” Harmon said.

Through his ‘American Idol’ experience, he’s been jotting down lessons learned in a journal. With most entries taking up half a page, he’s got two pages devoted strictly to Sparks. The biggest lesson from the experience was the importance holding back on his vocal range for the first 30 seconds of a song until the song picks up as well.

During a pre-performance segment, the two agreed that their performance had to be genuine to make singing the love song convincing to the audience.

“At first I thought, 'I don’t know this lady. We had 48 hours to sing a love song to each other.' I thought it would be a challenge, but it came very easily. She’s so nice,” Harmon said.

This week, ‘American Idol’ celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. will choose eight finalists who advance, while America will vote for the two remaining contestants to make the Top 10.

In closing, Harmon wanted to let Amory knows he loves everyone and asks for everyone to vote for him and continue following him. ‘American Idol’ airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. on FOX.

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