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Jacksonville's Tyanna Jones gives crowd plenty to cheer about at American Idol Live concert

All five singers performed like pros, but the applause meter tipped toward the hometown girl

By David Crumpler Wed, Jul 15, 2015 @ 11:54 pm | updated Thu, Jul 16, 2015 @ 6:16 am

The hometown girl was a big hit.
The American Idol Live! tour came to Jacksonville on Wednesday, bringing the Top 5 finalists from the past season of the Fox series to the Florida Theatre for two hours of crowd-pleasing pop, rock, country and soul.

Though the audience responded enthusiastically to all the performers, the applause meter tipped in favor of Tyanna Jones.

And not without justification. The Jacksonville teenager gave fans plenty to cheer about.

With her big, expressive and elastic voice, she packed emotion into songs like Meghan Trainor’s “Lips are Movin’ ” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams.” Her warm stage presence and dazzling smile helped the 16-year-old singer generate some of the evening’s most memorable moments.

Backed by a full band, each finalist performed several solos, as well as some group numbers, starting with Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Going My Way?” and ending with Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” and Fun’s “Some Nights.”

The format allowed them to show that they all had something a little different to offer.

Jones, along with “Idol” winner Nick Fradiani and the other finalists, Clark Beckham, Jax and Rayvon Owen, also got to share stories about themselves, giving the concert the “up close and personal” touch that was promised early in the show.

Since the youngest (Jones) is 16 and the oldest (Fradiani) is 29, and celebrity is new to all of them, there were recurring themes of chasing your dreams and being grateful to fans.

It’s the kind of thing that could have gotten a little stale if it weren’t for the fact that the stories were all genuinely endearing — and frequently quite funny as well.

Jones, who turns 17 next month, became a hometown celebrity as she survived round after round of cuts when the show began broadcasting in January. During that time, she was also the inspiration for a couple of “watch parties” at Westside High School, where she was a junior.

She made it to the Top 5 before being eliminated from the competition in late April, thereby earning a spot in this summer’s tour, which launched last week in Clearwater and is scheduled for 37 cities over the next two months.

Jones had been part of several effective group numbers — including Sia’s “Chandelier” with Beckham and Owen and Imagine Dragons’ “I Bet My Life” with everyone but Fradiani — before her “moment” came about half through the concert.

The crowd roared when she stepped into the spotlight and proceeded to talk about the importance of family.

She invited her mother onstage to take a bow, and the audience give a warm welcome to Tamara Jones, who had been a visible and constant source of support to her daughter while “Idol” was being televised,

The audience demonstrated great affection for the other performers as well.

Beckham, this year’s runner-up, excelled with a soulful “Georgia on My Mind” and a rocking interpretation of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.”

Jax, who finished third, tackled Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” and The Who’s “My Generation” like a pro, and Owen shined during songs such as Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” and Nick Jonas’ “Jealous.”

Fradiani pretty much occupied the stage for the last quarter of the concert. Of all the performers, he seemed the most polished and self-assured. His experience showed in “Coming Your Way” — a song he had recorded with his band, Beach Avenue — and hard-driving version of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.”

But the others were also immensely likable, even if they haven’t quite defined themselves as well musically or fully established their stage personas. Their talent and potential were very apparent.

All came across as winners.