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January 18, 2014

Bruce takes ‘American Idol’ advice

THOMASVILLE — Jermaine Bruce is polishing his craft for “American Idol” auditions this summer, as advised by none other than Jennifer Lopez last September when he auditioned for the current season of the popular talent competition. Bruce expects  Thursday’s episode of “American Idol” to feature his audition. The show just premiered in its 13th season on Fox.

“I  made a pretty good impression,” the Americus native said recently. But, Bruce said the opportunity to demonstrate his talents as a singer was almost missed. He explained that if not for his friends and family and their belief in his talents, he would not have gone to the auditions held in Atlanta last July.

“I decided to give it a try,” he said, adding that without their encouragement he would not have put himself out there.

Bruce was among 15,000 hopefuls who showed up at Gwinnett Arena to sing for the chance to appear on the popular televised talent show. He sang “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men and was invited to participate in a second round of auditions in September. Bruce sang R. Kelly’s “I Believe I can Fly” and was asked to stick around for the third round, the “executive round,” where he sang the Elton John song “Circle of Life” for J-Lo, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.

Bruce fared well and impressed the judges, with only Urban giving him a thumbs down.

“J-Lo like me a lot and told me to polish and come back next year,” said Bruce, adding that next year I’ll be ready.

Auditions for next season are actually just a few months away and will be held in New York. Bruce is seeing a voice coach in Atlanta. He commutes from Thomasville where he currently resides but is planning to move to Atlanta soon. He is also working to get in great physical shape, as he knows appearances go a long way in the entertainment business and could make the difference in being chosen to be in next season’s show.

He also learned a valuable lesson — to seriously listen to friends and family.

“You never know what might happen,” he said crediting his experience to his loved ones pushing him to do what he truly wants to do.

Bruce is a 2009 graduate of Americus-Sumter County High School. He got his start singing in church at Shipp Chapel Baptist Church at age 8.

“That’s where I found my voice,” he said.

On that note, Bruce said he isn’t just going to wait around for the “Idol” auditions this summer. In two weeks, he will be in Nashville, Tenn., to put his best foot forward for another talent competition, “The Voice.”

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