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‘Idol’ finalist calls on former stage history

Brookhaven’s adopted favorite daughter Jasmine Murray, who wasrecently selected for the Wild Card Round of popular music realityshow “American Idol,” said she thinks her past stage experience hasbeen a definite plus.

Mississippi School of the Arts junior Murray, who is currentlyserving as Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen, said her pageant workhas given her a sense of comfort on the stage that has helped herin the trying moments.

“Being on the ‘Idol’ stage, it’s a little different becauseeveryone’s judging you and stuff,” she said. “I’m glad I’d had thatexperience or I’d be more nervous or not as comfortable.”

And her marketability has led judges to consistently refer toher as “commercial,” as well as prompting many national mediareporters to ask about what kind of music she intends to focus onas the show continues.

Murray, a typical teenager, gushed, saying she likes all kindsof music.

“During the show they do so many things, so many genres,” shesaid. “I like so many different kinds of music, and because I’m soyoung I don’t want to limit myself. I want to explore differentthings and see how they sound with my voice. I hope to show Americaall the different styles I can do.”

She also gushes about her fellow contestants. She has said morethan once that she wishes every one of them could advance.

“All 36 were amazing,” she said. “It’s so hard because thisgroup of people were all so talented. I couldn’t be a judge becauseI’d just want them all to be in the Top 12.”

The ones that didn’t make it, she said, shouldn’t give uphope.

“I’m happy for the people that made it, and the ones that didn’tstill have big futures,” she said. “If I weren’t here I’d be doingthe same thing I was before. I’d just keep singing because I lovedoing it.”

And Murray, whose “commercial” image comes from her stylishwardrobe and predictably perfect hair and makeup, said Friday thatshe really hasn’t had to alter her image for the show.

“I haven’t changed a lot, really. I like to look nice andpresentable wherever I go and in whatever I’m doing,” she said.”I’m blessed to have nice clothes and be able to fix my hair andmakeup.”

The teen fashion plate said getting to be on the show has been awonderful experience throughout. When faced with questions abouther strategy, she said she will just do her best to find songs thatcomplement her style.

“You just have to pick the best song that fits your voice andshows who you are,” she said. “I think that’s really important thatyou focus on that, because we’re all doing songs by otherartists.”

The Top 12 Round, which will actually feature the top 13contestants, will air Tuesday, March 10, at 7 p.m. on FOX.