Saturday’s turnout for Jena Irene Asciutto’s homecoming concert and a parade in her honor left little doubt the “American Idol” finalist is Farmington Hills’ “Idol,” regardless of what happens in the show’s season finale May 21.
Scores of friends and fans showed up for her homecoming in Farmington Hills Saturday. Finalists Caleb Johnson and Alex Preston also performed hometown concerts this weekend. This week, one more competitor will be eliminated, then it will come down to the final two contestants vying for the 13th “Idol” recording contract.
The North Farmington Hills High School drumline and a black-suited schoolmates shaking yellow pompons welcomed Asciuitto as she was driven down 13 Mile Road on the back of a white Mustang convertible, The Detroit News reports. Fans cheered as the lined the street and at the football stadium, where Asciutto performed a four-song set.
In remarks by local dignitaries before the concert began, Farmington Hills Mayor Barry Brickner gave a key to the city to Asciutto, who has already advanced farther than any other Michigan contestant in “American Idol” competition.
“We are so proud of you … my wife and I vote every week,” Brickner aid to the singer, then turned to crowd with an announcement that “she is going to be the next American Idol and bring it home to Farmington Hills.”
"We have 1.2 million people of Oakland County rooting for you and we all agree you're going to be the next American Idol," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.
Before she began singing, Asciutto offered a thank-you “from the bottom of my heart” to fans who filled the bleachers and spilled out onto the football field. “I love you guys. Let’s rage.”
For her set, Asciutto chose Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie;” a fan and judge favorite from last week’s show, Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love”; Paramore’s “Decode”; and “Unbreakable Me,” an original song Acsiutto said was about overcoming an eating disorder.
“Girls feel they have to be completely stick thin, and bulimia and anorexia are a big part of high school,” she explained the inspiration behind the song. “So I wrote a song aobut a certain person that inspired me and she’s doing well … she’s unbreakable.”
Earlier in the day, Asciuitto put on an apron and pitched in at Hercules Coney Island, where she had waited tables. Servers there wore T-shirts proclaiming “Jena is Our American Idol,” MLive reports. She took a few orders, hugged her coworkers and friends and signed autographs and then left in a stretch limousine.
In an interview with The Detroit News after her concert, Asciuitto said she auditioned for “American Idol” on a whim.
The pressure of the finals isn’t the only thing on Asciutto’s mind. She’s looking forward to prom and graduation.
“I’ve been going to school for, what, 12 years,” she told the newspaper. “I owe it to myself to go to my graduation. Farmington is so special to me.”