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RIVERSIDE: Winner Nick Fradiani tops ‘American Idol Live!' show at Fox

The top five contestants with special guest Adanna Duru from season 14 of ‘American Idol’ sweep into Riverside for final tour stop.

Published: Aug. 21, 2015 Updated: Aug. 24, 2015 2:18 p.m.

Being eliminated from one reality talent show didn’t stop singer/songwriter Nick Fradiani from continuing down the path of stardom via national television.

For several years, Fradiani fronted the band Beach Avenue which landed a spot on the ninth season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2014, but was eliminated early on in the competition.

He didn’t falter and instead charged ahead with an audition for the most established of the TV talent competition genre – “American Idol.”
“Coming into ‘American Idol’ I was a little bit jaded,” Fradiani said during a recent telephone interview. “It ended up being a lot of fun.”

Not only did Fradiani have a good time, he went on to win season 14 the singing competition “American Idol.”

The Connecticut native will perform with runners-up Clark Beckham, Jax, Rayvon Owen and Tyanna Jones during the final tour stop of the “American Idol Live!” tour at the Fox Performing Arts Center on Friday, Aug. 28. Special guest and UC Riverside student Adanna Duru will also perform. Duru made it into the top 11 before being voted off the show.

Music has been part of Fradiani’s life since his childhood. When he was 5 years old, he spent hours with his dad learning about The Beatles, a practice that planted a fierce love of sonic shapes and lyrics in him.

“My dad used to sit me down and read the ‘Abbey Road’ album notes to me,” Fradiani said. “We would listen to the music, talk about the songs and the band.”

Noticing his passion for music, Fradiani’s grandmother purchased an electric guitar for him, opening up a wider world of musical expression to the then 12-year old: a purple Fender Stratocaster that he still owns.

His love of guitar followed him onto the “Idol” stage. During his audition, Fradiani impressed the judges with his acoustic rendition of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” earning him a coveted golden ticket to Hollywood.

Throughout the competition, he roused the judges and audiences with his powerful vocals, singing tunes ranging from Kenny Loggins and Michael Jackson to Katy Perry. He also showed off his piano and guitar playing skills.

Although taking top honors and touring are the crowning achievements from the show thus far, Fradiani said the friendships he has gained with fellow contestants rank high up on his list.

“The five of us are so close,” Fradiani said. “It’s amazing to be able to tour and bond with other musicians.”

With five instead of 10 Idol performers compared to previous tours, the shows are scaled back and allow a more personal experience with the singers. The performers have longer sets, are backed by a live band and take on a vibe similar to the VH1 show “Storytellers.”
Fradiani said the style of the shows allows audiences to see who the artists truly are outside of the televised “American Idol” performances, which he said weren’t always realistic.

“I watch the show every night and it is a nice and diverse mix,” Fradiani said about the tour. “And the band is incredible.”

The last stop of the tour coincides with the final season of the hugely successful run “American Idol has had. The show debuted in 2002 and has churned out a slew of recording stars including Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and Phillip Phillips.

Fradiani hopes to follow in their footsteps and parlay his win into a rewarding career in the music industry. He is working on his solo album which he anticipates will be out sometime in 2016 and his first single “Beautiful Life” was chosen to be the official anthem of FOX Sports’ coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in June.

He debuted the song after hearing “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announce him as the winner in May on live television.

“I felt pretty confident, but I was still shocked to hear my name,” Fradiani said. “It was an emotional thing to look out to the audience and see my family crying.”