'American Idol Live' tour at Chautauqua
By Dave Richards
July 23, 2015 06:54 AM
Fve is the magic number for
the annual American Idol Live tour with competitors from the iconic
Fox reality singing show. Past years featured the season's top 10 finishers,
but the 2015 tour includes just five -- winner Nick Fradiani, plus finalists
Clark Beckham, Rayvon Owen, Tyanna Jones and Jax.
As a result, each "Idol" winner gets more time in the spotlight
to sing and share stories, as well as perform in group numbers.
Pop-punk singer Jax -- who lists Paramore, the Beatles and Billy Joel
among her favorite performers -- may have the most dramatic story to
share when American Idol Live pulls into Chautauqua Amphitheatre on
Friday. Her father was a firefighter with the Brooklyn Engine 276 company
during 9/11 and afterward. Months of inhaling fumes and at ground zero
forced him to take early retirement due to a medical disability in 2005.
"It was kind of a blessing in disguise that he had to retire after
9/11," Jax said, by phone. "It was heartbreaking for him,
but he became my partner in crime in changing the world. He's like my
best friend. He's my toughest critic, but he's also my biggest fan so
I feel blessed to have him in my corner. My parents are like the coolest."
Jax's father became her manager and biggest supporter during her exhilarating
yet pressure-packed "American Idol" experience. Not surprisingly,
she credits their love of music as a big influence.
"I think everyone's
parents had some sort of influence on what kind of music they like,"
Jax said. "I grew up on classic rock and even show tunes at dinner.
They'd always open me up to all kinds of music and culture. "I
was always learning. I grew up on theater and Janis Joplin and the Stones
and everything. I love all music," she added. "I think it's
probably been that way since I was like in my mom's tummy. I'd just
be pumping out random tunes. Eventually, I developed my own style but
they're totally the reason I was so interested in music."
Jax says her first concert, at age 3 or 4, was by either Hilary Duff
or Britney Spears -- she couldn't remember. This past year, she's been
on a concert roll, catching Art Garfunkel, Pat Benatar, Fleetwood Mac,
Billy Joel, Natalie Merchant and Alanis Morissette. At the Joel concert,
she sat next to David Cassidy.
Now it's her turn to be on stage entertaining others. On Friday, with
"Idol" performers backed by a live band, look for Jax to belt
out songs by such artists as the Who, Paramore and Bon Jovi, plus her
own first single "Forcefield." In group numbers, she'll also
sing hits by Fun, Kelly Clarkson and Lenny Kravitz. The concert mixes
current Top 40 hits (like Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again") with
pop, rock, soul and country classics.
Jax said her fellow finalists have become close friends. They shared
the experience instead of feeling like combatants, so not winning was
not a crushing disappointment. Where else could she have shared a mike
with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler?
"It is what it is," Jax said. "I felt like a winner the
day I got the golden ticket. So, at some point, I stopped treating it
like a game show and appreciated every moment."