Lee Jean American Idol 2016 Finalist: His Journey So Far [VIDEOS]

Lee Jean Jr. has been criticized by the American Idol judges for his inexperience and sometimes immaturity on stage, but they also believe he has a huge potential for growth. We weren’t sure this American Idol 2016 contestant would make it past Hollywood Week, but he’s shown time and time again that he has the talent to stand up against older and more experienced rivals.

Lee Jean performs on American Idol 2016 (FOX)
Lee Jean performs on American Idol 2016 (FOX)

Lee’s road to where he is in life now has not been an easy one. He lost his brother at a young age and has been feeling the pain of it ever since. However, that tragic occurrence also motivated him to become a person he thought his brother would want him to be. From what we’ve seen so far of Lee Jean on American Idol, we’re sure his brother would be proud. We certainly know the rest of his very large family is! (Read more on Lee’s backstory on his Top 24 profile page.)

Audition: During his American Idol audition, 15-year-old Lee Jean Jr. gave a soulful rendition of “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran that had the judges rapt with attention. Jennifer Lopez just couldn’t keep smiling throughout the performance. She told him she just wanted to “squeeze” him and that he is “so cute and so talented.” Harry Connick Jr. told Lee that he has a “tremendous amount of talent” but he does have to work on staying in tune. Keith Urban loved his whole “singer songwriter quality” and that he has “so much god given talent.”

Hollywood Week Lines of 8 Solos: We had trouble finding a video of Lee Jean Jr. from the first solos in Hollywood Week, but obviously he made it through the cut to move on to the Group Round.

Hollywood Week Group Round: During the Group Round performances, Lee Jean held his own in a very strong group of singers and once again impressed the celebrity panel. Keith Urban said they sounded so good together, that it was like listening to an actual vocal group. Once again, it did not seem to be a difficult decision for the American Idol judges to put Lee Jean through to the next phase of the competition.

Hollywood Week Solo Round: In the Hollywood Week solo round, Lee Jean Jr. shined with a performance of “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. The American Idol judges thought Lee would do well with the song, and he proved them right. They easily passed him through to the Showcase Round.

Hollywood Week Showcase Round & Final Judgement: Although he had been so strong previously, the Showcase Round almost proved a stumbling block for Lee Jean. The judges felt that he showed his immaturity and inexperience in front of the live audience with how he acted and performed on stage. However, they still felt like he had the talent and potential they were looking for to be part of the season 15 Top 24.

Top 24 Semi-Finals Solo Round: For his Top 24 solo, Lee Jean Jr. worked very hard to impress the judges and connect with the audience during his rendition of another Ed Sheeran song, “Runaway.” While it was not his strongest performance, the American Idol judges loved his voice even though they didn’t like his song choice. They also felt it was one of the better performances of the night, but that he had a lot of room to improve.

Top 24 Semi-Finals Duet Round: During the Top 24 duet performances, Lee Jean was paired with American Idol star Chris Daughtry, and the judges were much more impressed with this performance than the last. Jennifer Lopez thought Lee did a great job and she was left speechless. Harry Connick Jr. said it was “really, really strong” and praised Lee for his “incredible musical gift.”

Will Lee Jean make it through the next cut to be part of the American Idol 2016 Top 10? We’ll bring you all the latest American Idol spoilers on the next round of the competition as they happen!