Arts school student taking next step in ‘American Idol’ journey

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Mississippi School of the Arts student earned unanimousapproval from “American Idol” judges in Tuesday night’s episode andwill now go on to compete in Hollywood.

Jasmine Murray, a 16-year-old MSA junior from Starkville, wasone of only 16 contestants from the Jacksonville, Fla., auditionsto receive a “golden ticket” invitation to the next round of thepopular singing competition. According to the show’s Web site,12,000 people appeared at the auditions.

“We’re very proud and excited,” said MSA Executive Director Dr.Vicki Lambert about Murray’s success.

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Murray was unavailable for comment. Lambert said “Idol”competition rules are very strict and controlled by showproducers.

“It’s understandable because they want to protect the show andthe candidates,” Lambert said.

On Tuesday night’s show, Murray sang Fergie’s version of “BigGirls Don’t Cry.”

Judge Simon Cowell, normally known for dishing out snarky andcritical comments, instead described Murray as “cute” and”commercial.” Other judges agreed.

“I think you’ve got a very nice voice,” judge Paula Abdul toldMurray.

Murray and her family members were also featured in a briefvignette prior to her televised time before the judges.

Lambert said arts school officials are hopeful that Murray couldbecome the next in a line of other music industry “idols” fromMississippi. She mentioned rock and roll’s Elvis Presley, opera’sLeontyne Price and blues legend Muddy Waters.

“We’ve had many idols from Mississippi over the years,” Lambertsaid.