Contestant with WNY roots in final two for ‘Idol’ crown
updated 8:03 AM , May 19, 2014
Like most of the nation, Western New York interest in “American Idol” has taken a big drop this season.
But the area has a special reason to watch the finals Tuesday: One of the two singers competing for the crown has Western New York roots.
Jena Irene Asciutto, who just goes by Jena Irene, survived the cut in Thursday night’s results show and is viewed as the favorite against Caleb Johnson when the two compete in Tuesday’s finals. Alex Preston was eliminated Thursday to set up the showdown between Jena Irene and Caleb.
Jena is a 17-year-old resident of suburban Detroit. But one of Jena’s relatives in Western New York, Laurie Galbo of Wheatfield, emailed The News after the competition started to alert the region to her lineage. Jena’s grandfather, Andrew, was born and raised in Buffalo and moved to Michigan after military service, but she has many cousins and other relatives still living here. The Asciutto family came here from Isnello, Sicily.
The one-hour competition finale carried on Fox affiliate WUTV at 8 p.m. Tuesday will be followed by a results show finale at 8 p.m. Wednesday of more than two hours that will feature performances by Lady Antebellum, Aloe Blacc, KISS, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Jason Mraz, Jennifer Nettles, Paramore, Phillip Phillips and Darius Rucker.
The drop in “Idol” ratings continued for this week’s shows. The two-hour competition episode Wednesday averaged a 5.5 rating on WUTV and finished third in its time slot here. Thursday’s hour results show had a 5.1 rating. In its heyday, “Idol” ratings were three or four times higher.