MSA student Murray still has bright future, fans say

Published 5:00 am Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jasmine Murray may not be going any further in this year’s”American Idol” competition, but win or lose she’s definitelyBrookhaven’s Idol.

The 17-year-old Mississippi School of the Arts junior, whoreceived a wild card slot and made it to the Top 13 of the nationalmusic reality show, was eliminated Wednesday night along withfellow contestant Jorge Nunez of Puerto Rico. More than 33 millionsvotes were cast by fans following Tuesday night’s show, with Murrayand Nunez having the lowest totals.

MSA Principal Jana Perry echoed the sentiments of many Murrayfans when she said had she been a judge, things might have been alittle different.

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“I’m a little disappointed, I thought she did really well,”Perry said. “I don’t necessarily agree with the judges all thetime. I don’t agree with them, but that’s what they do for a livingand we have to respect that.”

Perry said she enjoyed Murray’s final Wednesday nightperformance of Michael Jackson’s “I’ll Be There,” and that sheexpected big things from the teen.

“She’s going to go on in vocal music and do whatever she wantsand she’ll succeed, period,” she said. “And she did well lastnight, I thought she did wonderfully. She’s a really goodperformer, and her voice is gorgeous.”

Murray’s MSA “host mother” Jennifer Jackson and her “hostsister” and good friend Kelsey Jackson were in the audience forTuesday and Wednesday night’s shows. Jennifer Jackson said they gotto attend a party in honor of Murray and Nunez Wednesday night, andthat the other contestants had plenty of good things to say aboutMurray’s future.

“Jasmine is going to be fine,” she said. “They said, ‘This isjust the beginning for you, we’re going to see you on SeventeenMagazine,’ and everything.”

Jackson said while Murray was sorry to have been eliminated, shewas still grateful for the experience. The other contestants alsocommented on Murray’s friendly, even-keel personality, Jacksonsaid.

“Everyone talked about how she was so sweet and poised, and sucha wonderful person, the sweetest person they’d ever met,” Jacksonsaid. “They talked about how she was so graceful, just a perfectSouthern lady.”

The Jacksons were headed home Thursday morning, but Perry saidMurray would be back in Brookhaven after Spring Break. At thatpoint, Perry said, Murray will have another competition to focuson.

“Our choir is so excited, she’ll be back for the statecompetition, and it’ll be the first time in a long time we’ve hadthe whole choir together,” Perry said. “We can’t wait for her tocome back, we’ll definitely have a warm welcome for her.”

And on the school front, Perry said, Murray has not just raisedher own public profile, but she’s also brought quite a bit ofattention to Brookhaven and MSA.

“It’s given us the edge we’ve needed to break out of just beinga school in Mississippi to being the arts school of Mississippi.It’s really gotten our name out there,” Perry said. “It’s lettingmore students know about the opportunities in Mississippi for thearts, andour mission is to educate students in the arts.”

Murray’s tenure on the popular show is also potentially aninspiration to other Mississippi teens who dream of a future inmusic.

“If that brings even one more student to an education in thearts, that’s great,” Perry said.