I have to admit I haven't watched "American Idol" in forever. But now that a 22-year-old Jersey guy, Cole Hallman, has advanced on the show I may have to return. I'm a sucker for a great backstory.

Here's a modest guy from Manasquan, New Jersey who didn't get involved with music at all until he was 15. He expressed doubts of getting picked up since so many others started so much younger. On top of that, he has a younger sister who has a chromosomal deficiency that he says affects her i.q. and behavior.

Her name is Katie and she's his number one fan and loves to sing with her big brother. And as the father of two neurotypical teens and two little ones with autism, it is so sweet to see how Cole accepts her completely and loves her so dearly.

Katie even made an appearance in his audition.

Cole Hallman not only made it, he impressed the hell out of judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

Bryan tells him, "I think you're an authentic voice. I think you're singing from the right place. You're not here to be fancy about a bunch of stuff, you just played the song, you sing it from the heart."

Perry adds, "You can just hear your heart. Your heart is just in your voice. Your voice is so raw and passionate."

And that's the Jersey way, isn't it? To keep it real?

Speaking of Jersey there was another contestant from the Garden State that got picked up Sunday night. Camryn Champion, only 16 years old, from Lumberton, New Jersey got the go-ahead but it wasn't easy. The judges kept on her to dig deeper, sing with more force, less fear.

Camryn tried out performing Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One" and in the end she got the golden ticket she came for.

"American Idol" is in its 20th season. Good luck to both the New Jersey idols.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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