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St. Louis Teen Talent Competition winner Christina Jones lives her 'American Idol' dreams

St. Louis Teen Talent Competition winner Christina Jones lives her 'American Idol' dreams

From the 3 St. Louis singers to watch for on the new ‘American Idol’ series
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Christina Jones

AMERICAN IDOL - “101 (Auditions)” - The gold standard of all music competition series, “American Idol,” will make its highly anticipated return to television as superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie set out on a journey across the nation to discover a new crop of inspiring talent with a touch of Disney magic, as it premieres its first season at its new home on America’s network, The ABC Television Network, SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT). (ABC/Alfonso Bresciani) CHRISTINA JONES (O'FALLON, IL)

Christina Jones never figured she was the type of singer who would audition for “American Idol.” But when the singing competition returns on ABC this week, the O’Fallon Township High School senior will be a contestant.

Jones, 18, sang for judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan at New Orleans auditions in October.

“It’s actually happening, and it’s really mind-boggling,” says Jones, whose audition airs Monday. “I’m really excited. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m pursuing my dreams.”

Growing up, the O’Fallon, Ill., native wasn’t an “American Idol” viewer.

“It was canceled (on Fox) before I could get a grasp of what it was about,” she says. “I’ve heard stories of how people grew up watching up, and I would look up clips of the show.”

Her day of auditioning, as she had expected, was an especially long one involving a lot of waiting around. She says her nerves were through the roof as she watched fellow contestants move through the audition process.

But when it was her turn to perform, she says, she was absolutely amazing. Though she had a “the judges won’t like me” feeling in the back of her mind.

“I have a tendency to psych myself out in situations like these,” says Jones, who after two years as a finalist won the Fox Performing Arts Foundation’s St. Louis Teen Talent Competition last year. She also auditioned in 2017 for “The Voice” on NBC.

“I’m getting better at it,” she says. “I don’t let my fears get the best of me now. I decided that, right then and there at the audition. I was scared, but I didn’t let it affect how I sang.

“Lionel Richie said he could tell I was nervous, but he was proud I pulled through. I got a lot of compliments from the judges, and it was nice to know all that work I did really paid off.”

Bryan told her he would pay money to hear her sing. She says Perry described her voice as timeless.

“That’s what boosted my confidence,” Jones says. “She’s such a hard critic.”

Jones’ audition song was Gladys Knight’s “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” an old soul classic. She also performed the song at the Teen Talent Competition.

“It’s a song I grew up with,” she says. “I always loved that song and the message behind it. I sing it for the people I love — the people close to me.

“I like all the old stuff. My dad introduced me to all of it. I’m considered old-school.”

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