Idol times for Joshua Ledet

Joshua Le­det says his dad en­cour­aged him to be­lieve in him­self.

Past tours have fea­tured such stars as Kelly Clark­son, Car­rie Un­der­wood, Adam Lam­bert, Scotty Mc­Creery and oth­ers. Now this year’s Amer­ic­an Idol Live! Tour, set for Board­walk Hall in At­lantic City on Fri­day, fea­tures first-place win­ner Phil­lip Phil­lips and the sea­son’s tal­en­ted run­ners-up, in­clud­ing a Louisi­ana nat­ive who took the No. 3 spot, Joshua Le­det.
Le­det, a preach­er’s son, said this isn’t the first time he tried for a top spot on the pop­u­lar TV show.
“Ac­tu­ally, I au­di­tioned for sea­son ten as well and didn’t make it, do­ing the ex­act same thing and singing the ex­act same song,” he said. “This time, I think I was more like my­self and not as shy as I was last year. That’s the only dif­fer­ence I can think of this time around.”
Grow­ing up in a large fam­ily where the fo­cus was on “food and fun,” Le­det said that, when he was an 11-year-old, he watched an­oth­er South­ern soul sing­er, Fantas­ia Bar­rino, sing I Be­lieve in the fi­nal show of Amer­ic­an Idol’s third sea­son and be de­clared the win­ner.
“That really in­spired me, and I hoped I could do the same thing one day,” said the 20-year-old.
“But even though I grew up singing in my fam­ily’s church, I was pain­fully shy, em­bar­rassed to sing in front of every­body. And al­though my mom was a great mu­sic­al in­spir­a­tion to me, she thought be­cause of my shy­ness I’d nev­er make it as a pro­fes­sion­al sing­er, let alone get any­where on Amer­ic­an Idol. But my dad en­cour­aged me, telling me to be­lieve in my­self and do what I wanted to do.”
Be­fore en­ter­ing and cap­tur­ing a top spot in the com­pet­i­tion, Le­det said he thought about be­com­ing an act­or, tak­ing part in his high school’s theat­er pro­gram for all four years of school. But singing fi­nally won out and he’s now tour­ing the coun­try with the oth­er Idol win­ners.
Dur­ing his many per­form­ances on Amer­ic­an Idol, Le­det re­ceived a num­ber of stand­ing ova­tions, in­clud­ing one for his rendi­tion of Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by the Tempta­tions, and the Bee Gees’ To Love Some­body.
In fact, each week the Idol con­test­ants were made to sing in a cer­tain style man­dated by the judges. And it wasn’t al­ways an easy thing to do, said Le­det.
“One of my hard­est weeks was singing a Billy Joel song,” he re­called. “That was a very un­com­fort­able week for me be­cause I really nev­er listened to his mu­sic and I got stuck with the very last song up for grabs. I tried to sing to the best of my abil­ity, but I don’t think the judges liked what I did too much.”
An­oth­er dif­fi­cult chal­lenge Le­det faces today is all the trav­el­ing it takes to get through this tour.
“It’s tough not be­ing able to rest like you want to or the way you nor­mally do,” he said. “And hav­ing to deal with go­ing from a totally dif­fer­ent life­style to be­com­ing fam­ous overnight with lots of people want­ing to see you and touch you is strange. It be­comes very tir­ing and very weird. But we all signed up for this, and for the most part, I do en­joy it. I just have to learn to get used to it.”
With Mi­chael Jack­son and Bey­once two of his own idols, Le­det said he hopes to wind up in the re­cord­ing stu­dio mak­ing great mu­sic for every­one to hear.
“Someone once told me that the way Mi­chael and Bey­once, and even Car­rie Un­der­wood made it, was by nev­er tak­ing a break,” Le­det poin­ted out. “And so, if that’s what it takes, that’s ex­actly what I plan to do, too.”
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