Just the beginning

Langhorne’s Catie Turner reflects on her ‘American Idol’ journey after recent elimination

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

An unforgettable journey: After advancing week after week, Langhorne’s Catie Turner fell short of landing a coveted spot in the top five of American Idol. After her elimination, she took to Twitter to thank everyone who voted for her. Source: ABC

Catie Turner wants her fans to know her quest for world domination isn’t over. On the evening of Sunday, May 6, the 18-year old Langhorne resident took to Twitter in a caps lock-driven spew of emotion. After advancing in the competition week after week, Turner fell short of landing a coveted spot in the top five of American Idol.

“Thanks for following me and accepting me and letting my freak flag fly. I have grown so much and learned so much and I’m just in awe over getting America’s vote TWO WEEKS IN A ROW,” she tweeted to her more than 61,000 followers.

Though her fans on social media were outraged at the results, with a few starting online petitions for the show to bring her back, Turner knew it was her time to go. In fact, she had a gut feeling from the time she woke up that morning.

“This mellow calm came over my body,” she explained during a press conference call.

Since her audition, which aired in March, Turner has boasted arguably one of the strongest voices in the competition, never faltering and always putting her unique Catie spin on popular tracks.

But when she took the stage for her first song of the evening, Britney Spears’ Oops!… I Did It Again, those discouraging thoughts from earlier held tight in the back of her mind. Though her performance of the classic ‘00’s hit was entertaining, it wasn’t up to her usual standards. Turner knew her next song, Manic Monday, would make or break America’s decision to vote her through to the next round.

Donning a Catie-esque hot pink suit, she started off strong singing, “Six o’clock already, I was just in the middle of a dream.” But disaster struck when Turner blanked on the next several lines. After a few seconds (which felt like an eternity) of fighting to catch up, she did, ending the performance with a shrug as she awaited the judges’ critiques. Thankfully, Simon Cowell is long gone from the panel. Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie had nothing but kind words of encouragement for Turner as they shared stories of their own blunders onstage. Still, Turner couldn’t shake her look of defeat.

After the final commercial break with five minutes to spare, Ryan Seacrest said his staple pre-results line, “Kieran dim the lights.” As contestants were called one by one, the top five began to take shape. Finally, it was down to Turner, Philadelphia’s Michael J. Woodard and Colorado’s Jurnee. As Seacrest prepared to read the name of the final contestant who would move forward, Turner frantically shook her head. Woodard rounded out the top five, sending the two girls home.

“I knew it was going to happen,” Turner said. “I didn’t do my best, I didn’t deserve to go through. My heart and my head were disconnected. There was too much pressure to make that performance the one.”

As Turner settles back into her life in Langhorne, which includes getting caught taking selfies by her grandmother, she is looking back on her American Idol experience with nothing but joy. When asked the difficult question of choosing one favorite moment, she said the opportunity to visit Disneyland with her mother and travel buddy Catherine was unforgettable.

A close second (or possible tie for first) was being mentored by her childhood crush Nick Jonas during her final episode. As producers walked Turner into the studio to meet him, her hilarious reaction of laughter, tears and avoiding direct eye contact hit home for every Jonas Brothers fangirl who still has an “I Heart Nick” pin hidden in the back of her dresser.

“They managed to cut a seven-minute freakout into a 30-second package,” she said. “I could look at his face forever, but he actually has lots of great advice.”

Unexpectedly, Turner also formed unbreakable bonds with the other contestants, especially her roommate Maddie Poppe. During her Twitter rampage, she explained why her fans should vote for each of the top five. Poppe is “reinventing what is means to be an American Idol,” Woodard could “sing opera and have it be a hit,” Cade Foehner “will bring rock music to a forefront in this industry,” Caleb Lee Hutchinson has the “charisma, the talent and the heart to win the country scene,” and Gabby Barrett has “the stage presence of a seasoned professional and the look of America’s next big pop star or country star or both.”

“Even though they’re my competition, they’re family. I didn’t feel anything but pure happiness,” she said of watching her friends advance.

But she won’t have to say goodbye for long. This summer, Turner and Jurnee will join the other five for a nationwide American Idol tour, which will hit Tower Theatre in Upper Darby on Aug. 14.

“I get to continue the best year of my life,” she said. “I just need to learn how to dance and entertain a crowd.”

We’ll have to wait and see what Turner has up her sleeve for the tour, but one thing is certain — glasses and go-go boots, she’ll always and unapologetically be herself. ••

Visit americanidollive.com for more information on the tour. Keep up with Turner at facebook.com/CatieTurnerSongs and on Instagram and Twitter at @hashtagcatie.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com