Performers from Philadelphia and New Jersey have already come out strong on this season of ABC’s American Idol in the last couple of weeks. But now we can add a couple names to the list of locals going to Hollywood.
Philadelphia’s Michael J. Woodard, 20, and Williamstown, NJ native Carly Moffa, 25, are moving on to American Idol’s next round after their auditions on Sunday’s episode. The two join Langhorne’s Catie Turner, West Philly’s Dennis Lorenzo, and Galloway, New Jersey’s Mara Justine, who all advanced to Idol’s Hollywood round earlier this month.
Woodward auditioned for judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie with a cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain.” Following a nervous start, Woodard wowed all three celebs, and moved on to the next round.
“What I love about you is you have absolutely no experience at all, and nobody cares,” Richie told Woodard. “You’re just singing from your heart, your life, the whole thing.”
Idol, however, isn’t Woodard’s first singing competition. In 2012, when Woodard was 14, he won The Hub Television Network’s Majors and Minors, a music competition series that aired on the station, which formerly was known as Discovery kids. His song “Closer” is included on the show’s compilation album.
Moffa, meanwhile, auditioned with “I’d Let the Lion Out,” an original track that Perry compared to English indie rock outfit Florence and the Machine. In her pre-audition interview, Moffa said the song was inspired by her mother, who was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis when the singer was in middle school.
“You kind of have that big, beautiful, folky Florence-type voice, which commands a room,” Perry said prior to a unanimous vote to put Moffa through to Hollywood.
According to 6ABC, Moffa grew up in Williamstown on a Christmas tree farm, and is now based out of Nashville, where she moved initially to attend Belmont University.
“I am really proud of where I came from,” she told the station in pre-audition interview. “I am really grateful. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t grow up exactly as I did.”
With the addition of Woodard and Moffa, the total of Philadelphia-area contestants on Idol this year is up to five overall. The show’s next episode airs tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.