American Idol Season 9 hopefuls learned their fate tonight as the top 24 were revealed on FOX TV. Central Florida fans have a lot to cheer about as Orlando native Janell Wheeler made it into one of the top spots!
Janell auditioned for American Idol at Orlando’s Amway Arena and then the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort — which ultimately took her to Hollywood. In her emotional video aired on FOX, January 17, 2010, Janell said making it into the top 24 “is a dream come true!”
In the January 16 episode at the Kodak Theatre, Janell’s voice showed signs of strain during her rendition of the popular Taylor Swift song, “Love Story.” Janell admitted the pressure had gotten to her. The demands of the grueling week and “group performance” seemed to take a toll and erode her confidence. But judges Simon, Kara, Randy and Ellen saw her star quality and have given Janell a chance to shine during this chance of a lifetime.
Janell Wheeler is a 24-year-old singer/songwriter and “die-hard Gator alumni” who studied music at the University of Florida. Prior to attending college in Gainesville, she graduated from Apopka High School where she was active in the high school’s Music and Theatre program. Her passion for singing started young. Janell wrote her first songs in the second grade and she sang in her church.
Prior to competing on American Idol Janell was a wine sales rep based in Tampa, Florida. But her love of music is her goal and driving force. This past year she worked with esteemed producer Charlie Craig in Nashville, Tennessee, to record a demo of her original songs.
Janell currently holds the first-place win in Orlando’s Got Talent, a talent search and fundraising event that took place at Cowboy’s Orlando on September 20, 2009.
I met Janell through a mutual music friend, Orlando native Johnny Bulford. Johnny is the 2009 winner of the prestigious Colgate Country Showdown. He recently moved to Nashville to pursue his singer/songwriting career fulltime. And with Janell’s newfound path to success, she may soon follow!
It is great to have a talented local singer to root for on Americcan Idol. Janell is a genuine, honest, and down to earth soul who is deserving of this opportunity.
Starting next week on American Idol, the top 12 boys and top 12 girls will get to sing for the votes of the American public. As singers take the competition to the next level, it will be exciting to watch Janell’s journey on American Idol unfold. This season, Orlando fans have more reason than ever to tune in to FOX – to support one of their own. Go Janell!
Read my up-close and personal interview with current American Idol champion Kris Allen.
Read about Johnny Bulford’s win of the Colgate Country Showdown.
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Thanks for reading,
Michele G. Hudson
Orlando Events Examiner
Top of Mind Music
Photo Credit: FOX / American Idol