Charlotte singer T.K. Hash staging a comeback on ‘American Idol’

01/16/2014 10:12 PM

01/16/2014 10:14 PM

If you watched “American Idol” Thursday night, noticed T.K. Hash’s successful audition, and thought the Charlotte singer looked familiar, there are a couple of possible explanations:

1. You attended a wedding, a hotel party, a country club dinner or other event at which his band Sol Fusion has provided the music. (It just had a gig as headliner at Charlotte’s First Night to ring in 2014.)

2. You are a longtime fan of “American Idol” who has a really, really good memory.

Hash, 28, got his “golden ticket to Hollywood” from Ryan Seacrest Thursday night in Austin (the auditions were held there in August) after performing Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” for judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

But he’s been down this road before.

At age 23, he sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” during an audition in Jacksonville, Fla., got his golden ticket, and made it through two rounds of cuts in Hollywood during Season 8. He was eliminated when the field was reduced from 54 to 36. (Kris Allen of Arkansas won that 2009 edition.)

It was so long ago that when asked where he auditioned, Hash said, “North Charleston.”

“Last time I was here, President Bush was in office, barely anyone was using Twitter yet – it was definitely a different world,” said Hash, a graduate of Concord’s Jay M. Robinson High School.

He did not attend college, for the same reason he took five years off from pursuing his “Idol” dream. During his senior year at Robinson, his father Eugene had a stroke, leaving the right side of his body temporarily paralyzed.

“I had a choice of either going to school (at UNC Chapel Hill) or staying home and supporting the family,” Hash said, “and for me, it was a no-brainer.”

Eugene and Deborah Hash encouraged him to try out in 2008, but after that journey ended, his parents continued to face hardships, preventing T.K. from going back for another shot. He has worked in customer service at a marketing firm in Kannapolis, at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and more recently, as his band’s lead singer.

But last year, Eugene, 57, received medical clearance to return to work for the first time in 10 years, and got hired at an insurance firm.

“I was definitely honored to (help my parents) ... it was nothing for me to just step in and do it,” said T.K. Hash, who won’t be glimpsed again on the show until February at the earliest. “But having that responsibility lifted from my shoulders gave me the opportunity to be able to feel at peace with going out and starting to refocus on my own career.”

“And they are very, very supportive. They always tell me, ‘Son, we see so much more talent and amazing capabilities in you every single day.’ They honestly believe that if the world needed to be saved, I’d figure out a way to do it.”

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