David Luning’s “American Idol” journey, his first but maybe not his last, ended for TV viewers Thursday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, about 325 miles from where it started. The show was taped back in December.
The Forestville resident was eliminated in the Group round during season 13 of the reality show. He and approximately 75,000 other aspiring singers from around the country started in the competition last summer and he made it to the final 104 contestants. A winner will be crowned in May.
It was no surprise to Luning, who classifies himself as a singer of Americana music, that he wasn’t selected to advance out of the Group round during the show’s third week of airing this season. His performance wasn’t shown.
See photos of Luning here
“The day of the performance (it was taped last December in Hollywood),” Luning explained, “we sat down and did interviews during the morning and then we performed late that afternoon. We were able to do a rehearsal that day but it’s a whole different ballgame on stage. In rehearsals we sounded really good.
“I think we did all right. But one of the problems is that in a group setting it doesn’t always play to everyone’s strengths. I feel like it could have been a better song. There were some people who were struggling. Harry (Connick, Jr., who is one of the three “Idol” judges) said something like some people are meant to be runnersup. I felt like we were done then.”
The group with Luning included Lindsay Pedicone, an 18-year-old from Kennett Square, Pa.; Casey McQuillen, 21, from Andover, Mass.; and Donald Reed, 26, from Opelousas, La.
They sang the Backstreet Boys song “I Want It That Way” although Luning voted for a different approach.
“We had to come up with the vocals, the arrangement, the choreography,” he explained. “The cool thing was that we had a vocal coach. We finally got to bed that night about 3:30 a.m. and we were up for breakfast at 6:30 a.m.
“Our group was actually pretty cool. We had an indie singer, a folk and pop singer, an R&B singer and I was Americana. We picked the Backstreet Boys song. We all knew the song, but it was not my first choice. I wanted to sing “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac.”
Luning, 27, is a graduate of Summerfield Waldorf School in Santa Rosa. His initial “Idol” tryout was at AT&T Park in San Francisco last summer and he isn’t opposed to trying out again next year for “Idol.” Age limits for participation on the show are 15-28.
”I don’t know right now,” he said, “but I’m not against doing it again. It has been a huge push with my career. I’ve been working with a booking agency for festival gigs and singing at a lot of other places. And a lot of people now know about my music.”
The show featuring his performance of an original song that aired two weeks ago was seen by an estimated 18 million viewers. He was not shown on this week’s two episodes.
So, for now he’ll go back to performing, making music videos, perfecting his craft and writing music.
“Where my ideas come from is broad,” Luning explained. “They come from experiences, memories, something someone says, a sentence in a book. However, usually the music comes first. I will often write a song without lyrics, and then add them later. Sometimes I will play guitar and sing, mumbling gibberish and a song will emerge from that.”
As a post note, and possibly an omen, entertainment website ENTV summed up David Luning at about 1:16 of the following video: