After sharing his emotional story of accidentally shooting his brother as a child, a former Garner man advanced to the next round in Wednesday night’s episode of “American Idol.”
John Arthur Greene, 26, who attended Enloe High School in Raleigh, was the last contestant featured in auditions from Philadelphia. He talked about how music has been redemptive for him since the death of his older brother, Kevin, when Greene was 8. He said the two often played games such as cops and robbers. The family had guns and usually practiced safety, he said.
But on the day of Kevin’s death, they did not realize a gun they were playing with was loaded, Greene told the “Idol” camera crew.
I lift him up every day, and he holds me up.
John Arthur Greene, “American Idol” hopeful, talking about his brother
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“I picked up a gun and called him into the room, and it went off,” Greene said. “I held my brother and watched him die.”
The family was living in Connecticut at the time. Greene said music has helped him deal with the overwhelming grief in the years after.
“I lift him up every day, and he holds me up,” he said of his brother.
For his audition, Greene performed Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You.” Urban, himself one of the “Idol” judges, liked it, but judge Harry Connick Jr. did not think it was strong enough. Judge Jennifer Lopez broke the tie, voting yes and sending Greene to the Hollywood rounds. Those were taped in December and narrowed the finalists down to 24, who will be featured in the live shows starting in mid-February.
Greene, now a Broadway performer who lives in New York, will be returning to the Triangle in February. He’ll play the lead role of Danny Zuko in N.C. Theatre’s production of “Grease” on Feb. 9-14 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.
Wednesday marked the second week that Raleigh natives have been featured prominently in the “Idol” auditions.
Greene is now starring in the musical “Matilda” on Broadway. His other credits include “West Side Story” on Broadway and NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!” in 2014. Former News & Observer reporter Tim Stevens profiled Greene then.
Wednesday marked the second week that former Triangle residents have been featured prominently in the “Idol” auditions. Last week, Jordan and Alex Sasser, along with their baby daughter, tried out. Jordan advanced to the Hollywood rounds, while Alex did not. (Though she assures us there are no hard feelings.)
This week’s Philadelphia auditions also featured the return of Raleigh’s Clay Aiken to the show that made him famous. Aiken, the runner-up in Season 2, wasn’t exactly complimentary about the “Idol” premiere in his tweets last week.
In Philadelphia, taped last summer, Aiken posed for pictures, joked around with hopefuls and offered advice. “Though,” he noted with a laugh, “what do I know? I didn’t win!”