Mont Vernon singer on American Idol

MONT VERNON – Alex Philbrick is still in the game – the American Idol game that is – where aspiring performers go through audition after audition for a chance to become a new solo recording artist.

Millions of people watched the Fox Network show last week as Alex, whose stage name is Alex Preston, sang a song he wrote himself and then grabbed a “golden ticket” that allowed him to go to Hollywood for more elimination trials.

The three judges, Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, looked pleased with him and Lopez told Preston she liked his soft tone and “eye connection – the sign of a very comfortable performer.”

On Sunday, Feb. 2, Philbrick, who is 20, had flown home to his parents in Mont Vernon and was looking forward to going back to Hollywood for more elimination trials.

Under the rules of his contract, there’s not much he can reveal about the competitions, and about all he can say is that the entire experience is “very cool,” and that he is glad he chose his own song, “Fairytales,” to sing, one of the first songs he wrote.

The process started with online auditions, and there were 20,000 submissions, according to Alex’s father, Paul Philbrick.

The show that aired last week was taped in Salt Lake City a few months ago, and Preston chose that city because he has a friend who lives there. Then he and the other golden ticket winners went to Hollywood for more eliminations.

The process ends in March when 15 men and 15 women perform live, and viewers vote for their favorites by phone, email and text messages.

Philbrick is getting used to performing. Last year, a song he wrote wound up on YouTube, and he was invited to sing at a benefit concert for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., massacre and the Boston Marathon bombings.

A cousin of Philbrick’s, country music artist Jo Dee Messina, lives in Nashville where he spent most of last summer as part of his bid to break into the music business.

He is taking a year off from the University of New Hampshire to pursue that dream, and so far, he thinks that was a good decision.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at kcleveland@cabinet.com or 673-3100, ext. 304.