Ever since he belted out a smooth rendition of Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" during his New Orleans American Idol audition, all eyes have been on 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux.
"Your voice is really, really beautiful," Idol's newbie judge Jennifer Lopez marveled after the shy singer proved his worth in the audition room. Added Steven Tyler: "The sparkle in your eye? Forget about it! Closing my eyes and hearing you sing is a work of art."
As Badeaux advances to the next Hollywood Week round and prepares to sing a solo on tonight's show, learn more about the contestant with these five fun facts:
1. Though the teen may have fumbled the lyrics for his Hollywood Week tune, "Mercy," during the group round, Badeaux is already a seasoned performer. Just last year, in addition to taking Fox-44's "Baton Rouge Idol" title, Badeaux teamed with four pals to belt out an a capella version of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" for his school talent show at Lafayette High's Performing Arts Academy. The sophomore's role in the song? The falsetto "wimoweh" lyrics! (See the video here)
2. Badeaux, who some viewers and critics have compared to Justin Bieber and America's Got Talent's Jackie Evancho, believes "fate" will carry him through the Idol rounds. Adds the singer's mom, Lana Badeaux: "He's wanted to be on the show since it started airing."
3. His nickname is "Chipcoon." During an Idol video interview shot during his New Orleans audition, the teen revealed he is skilled at making chipmunk noises. Other hidden talents, according to the singer? "I play piano and I get really good grades, if that's a talent."
4. Badeaux became aware of his talent at an early age. "I started to sing when I was 3 when my parents made me stand up on a chair and sing," the teen says. "I found out I was good at it when people started complimenting me on it."
5. The Louisiana native is taking his family along during his Idol journey. "My parents are great role models," Badeaux told Idol cameras earlier this season. Indeed, Lana and Walter Badeaux have been a source of comfort for their son, especially when he dissolved into tears after being unceremoniously kicked out of one Hollywood Week group only to be quickly snapped up into another.
American Idol's Hollywood Week round continues Thursday at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox.