Jesse Cline of Boyd County did not clear the judges’ table after this week’s show, although he has almost no regrets and plans to take another shot at fame when next season’s open auditions begin.
“It was a blast. I definitely want to go back,” said Cline, 19, of rural Boyd County.
While not at all bitter about it, Cline said there was a level of disappointment that people who tuned in just to see him were offered very little of him on his final episode.
“They skipped me over for some reason,” he said of Wednesday evening’s episode of American Idol, which was his last. “The camera was constantly in my face. I do wish they would have at least let me be heard.
“I felt, by them not showing that footage, by eliminating that footage ... like, I don’t even have a copy of it. It felt like that part of my experience never happened,” he said. “I think what’s really important about that is sharing it with everybody else.”
Despite that disappointment, Cline said his American Idol experience was positive.
“I love all of the attention everybody’s been giving me,” he said, noting numerous people have stopped by his workplace, Racer’s #2 near the I-64 interchange in Cannonsburg, to wish him well and ask for an autograph.
“I got to live it up and I had a blast,” he said, adding his personal appreciation for the opportunity to hug celebrity judge Jennifer Lopez.
Even though his run on American Idol has come to an end, Cline said his opportunities to play music seem to be just beginning.
“I’ve already had a couple of festival offers including Memory Days in Grayson,” he said, adding he is also scheduling a performance at Whiskey River in South Point, Ohio “in a couple of weeks.”
Cline said he will continue performing with friend, bassist and multi-instrumentalist Clayton Ward, and playing the acoustic guitar his uncle M.J. Horton loaned him for the American Idol auditions and competition.
“I’m going to hang onto it for a while,” he said with a chuckle, adding he thinks his uncle is aware of his intentions to retain the borrowed six-string instrument.
Mike Nelson of CauseKeepers said that company has developed a T-Shirt for Cline called “Believable” and is making it available for online orders, with proceeds going to Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
“The website to order the shirt is www.jesse-cline.com and our company’s site for more information about us is www.causekeepers.com,” Nelson said.
Cline said he is quite pleased with the T-shirts, and explained the phrase beneath his name was derived from comments by celebrity judge Harry Connick Jr., who said he perceived the young singer’s performance as genuine.
“He said he believed me within nanoseconds and Keith (Urban) agreed,” Cline said.
The Boyd County musician said he selected Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital because it is a place he is extremely familiar with.
“When I was young ... I’ve had open heart surgery and been in and out of the hospital for cardiac stuff,” Cline said, recalling the hospital staff even provided him with video games to play when he was in ICU.
“They’re just good people and I wanted to give back to somebody who has done stuff for me my whole life,” Cline said.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or