Raleigh natives, and baby daughter, star in ‘American Idol’ premiere
A pair of Raleigh natives – and their adorable baby daughter – auditioned on the season premiere of “American Idol” on Wednesday night.
Alas, only one of them advanced in the competition.
Jordan Sasser, who described himself as “the biggest Celine Dion fan on the planet,” impressed judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez with his performance of Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” He received the “golden ticket” to advance to the Hollywood rounds.
Minutes earlier, his wife, Alex, had auditioned with her version of Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me.” But the judges thought the performance, in which she accompanied herself by strumming a pink ukelele, wasn’t quite strong enough to send her to Hollywood.
Clearly one of the highlights of their audition, though, was baby Westlund Joy, the subject of much oohing and aahing from the judging panel.
The Sassers, both worship leaders, were married in Raleigh in 2011. They met two years earlier, when they appeared on stage together in North Carolina Theatre’s version of “High School Musical 2.” Graduates of UNC Wilmington, the Sassers apparently returned to the Atlanta area last year after time doing missions in Costa Rica.
North Carolina, of course, has more “Idol” winners – three – than any other state. And of the top 11 highest-selling alumni in “Idol” history, five are from the Tar Heel state – Chris Daughtry, Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino, Scotty McCreery and Kellie Pickler.
One of those, Season 2 runner-up Aiken, caused a minor social media buzz with his critical tweets while watching Wednesday night’s show.
Aiken did have nice things to say about the Sassers:
And he later tried to explain his criticism: