Metro-East News

O'Fallon teen makes Top 50 on 'American Idol'

Christina Jones, 18, a senior at O'Fallon Township High School, poses on the set of "American Idol" after being notified that she made the Top 50, out of 169 contestants.
Christina Jones, 18, a senior at O'Fallon Township High School, poses on the set of "American Idol" after being notified that she made the Top 50, out of 169 contestants. Provided

Christina Jones survived Hollywood Week and made the Top 50 on "American Idol."

The 18-year-old student at O'Fallon Township High School must have impressed celebrity judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan in group and solo rounds, which ended Sunday night on ABC.

"It was exciting," said her mother, Natalie Jones, 53, who watched the episode at home with husband Darryl, 15-year-old daughter Taylor and mother Mary Wilson. "It was exciting but stressful."

Christina caught the show at a friend's house. She couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

A portion of Christina's group round aired March 26. She and three other contestants sang and danced to the Jessie J song "Domino." Richie singled out her and Gabby Barrett, 17, of Pittsburgh, for praise.

"You all were able to come together as a group and then break off into your individuality," he said. "Christina, Gabby — incredible."

"American Idol" contestant Christina Jones, an 18-year-old O'Fallon high school student, talks about the reactions from classmates, teachers and her family after moving to the next round of the competition. She also talks about some of her future

On Sunday night, Christina was shown waiting in a "holding room" and performing during the solo round, but only in the background. She sang Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way."

"She looked good," her mother said. "I could tell she was tired. I could tell she was under stress. In one shot, she was even crying."

After group and solo rounds, contestants were divided into three rooms. The judges walked into Room 1 with somber looks on their faces. Christina could be seen sitting on the floor comforting another girl.

"We hate delivering bad news," Perry said, pausing dramatically before adding, "but you're not going to hear that tonight 'cause you're going through."

The good news prompted the room to erupt in cheers and hugs.

Next comes the competition's showcase round, which will air Monday night. In this round, each contestant sings in front of an audience while backed by a live band.

Not all Top 50 contestants will appear on the two-hour episode, according to an ABC spokesman. But the 24 finalists will be named at the end of the show.

"We weren't able to be there with (Christina) for Hollywood Week, but we went for the showcase round," said Jones, speaking of Darryl, Taylor and Christina's vocal coach, Jessica Ford, who began working with her when the family lived in Tennessee and now is based in California.

Christina auditioned for "American Idol" in August in Chicago and October in New Orleans before being picked as one of 169 contestants for Season 16, which began March 11. A portion of her second audition was televised March 12, making her a school hero. She sang Gladys Knight & the Pips song "Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me."

Christina flew to Los Angeles for the filming of Hollywood Week in January. Her family is legally barred from revealing how far she made it in the competition until after broadcast of the episode in which she is eliminated.