Guilford Native One Step Away From Winning “American Idol”

Guilford native Nick Fradiani is one step away from becoming the next "American Idol."

Fradiani, 29, has made it to the finale and will battle Clark Beckham, 22, of Tennessee, to win the popular singing show's second-to-last season.

He sang Matchbox 20's "Bright Lights" in the first round of the finale Tuesday night, bringing the crowd to their feet.

Judge Jennifer Lopez said after the performance that Fradiania has the "voice, look, the presence, everything it takes" to be an "American Idol."

"When Simon Fuller was thinking up the competition... years ago now... he was probably thinking of someone like you," Lopez said. "We've seen you grow into that over the past, however many weeks, and again you're taking it to the next level."

Fellow judge Keith Urban echoed Lopez's praise.

"It's not just about having a great voice and being a great performer. It's about being a great performer. It's, can I relate to you? I can relate to you, Nick," Urban said.

All Nick could say after his performance was, "I'm at a loss for words."

He followed up with impressive second- and third-round performances, singing "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz and accompanying himself on the piano, then finishing the night with an original song called "Beautiful Life."

When Fradiani entered the competition, he was no stranger to the national stage. He competed last summer on NBC's "America's Got Talent" with his Milford-based band, Beach Avenue.

Fradiani, the oldest competitor on this season of "Idol," stopped home in Connecticut a couple weeks ago. Guilford held a parade and rally in his honor and Fradiani surprised high school students with an unannounced concert.

The two-part "American Idol" finale will continue at 8 p.m. Wednesday. You can vote for Fradiani on Google, by calling 1-866-IDOLS-06 or texting "6" to 21523.

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