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Man with Kansas ties wins ticket to Hollywood on ‘American Idol’

Updated: 2014-01-24T22:02:32Z

By LISA GUTIERREZ

The Kansas City Star

It was the James Dean pompadour and the Members Only jacket that did it, man. Twenty-seven-year-old Eric Gordon of Minnesota – who grew up in Richmond, Kan., south of Ottawa – is headin’ to Hollywood to compete on “American Idol.”

At his audition in Detroit, which aired this week, Gordon impressed judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. by singing just a few lines of John Mayer’s “Perfectly Lonely.”

But first, they wanted to know about his hair.

“You look like James Dean,” Connick told him when he walked in.

“Man, how do you get the pompadour rockin’ like that?” Urban wanted to know.

“My wife taught me how to use a hair dryer about five months ago,” said Gordon.

Before he sang, Gordon said that ‘music’s where my heart’s at and it’s always been my passion. I’m just ready for the world to hear me and to win this show.”

After he sang, Lopez declared that his “groove, your sense of timing, everything, was there. It was really nice.”

And he wore a Members Only jacket, said an obviously impressed Connnick.

Three ‘yes’ votes later, Gordon had his ticket to Hollywood.

He auditioned in the Motor City last year but couldn’t say anything about it, teasing his Facebook friends on Dec. 23 with this message: “Although my lips are sealed, the rumors are true. Merry Christmas from my peeps at American Idol!”

His Facebook profile says that he was born in Indiana, raised in Kansas and now lives in Minnesota.

“Growing up in a small, rural Kansas town of 500, I still continued my pursuit of music – from singing at local fairs and churches to auditioning for American Idol at 15,” he writes.

“I had also developed a love for song writing and recorded several original demos throughout high school. At 17, I joined the Gospel Music Association’s Academy of the Arts program in Nashville where I competed as a finalist in a singing competition. Shortly after graduating high school, I moved to Minnesota to record my first EP, Time.”

“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together. And a lot of great things are yet to come. Today, I’m still playing shows, still writing, still honing my craft. And I’m more focused than ever to continue chasing my dream of having a successful career in music.”

‘American Idol’ airs at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.

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