He may have been eliminated from “American Idol” just last week, but 16-year-old Lee Jean showed no signs of disappointment Saturday.
The irrepressible teen from Bluffton who had a seven-week run on the reality TV music show was in rare form at Coligny Plaza on Hilton Head Island Saturday night.
“I’m so excited to be back,” Jean said, as he signed T-shirts and glossy publicity photos for fans who waited in line for the chance to have their picture taken with him.
“This is the complete opposite of when I used to perform here and no one knew me,” Jean said smiling.
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Several hundred people crammed into the open-air courtyard of the shopping plaza for the Saturday night performance, which included the Bluffton-based rock band Native. The night before, about 300 turned out for a Friday night performance Jean gave at Southern Barrel Brewing Co.
The Bluffton High junior has been making appearances around the Lowcountry on a two-week break from the TV show.
Even though he was eliminated after making it into the Top 8, Fox producers have asked Jean to return for the live finale April 7. Money and donations raised from appearances will help offset the family’s travel expenses to the West Coast, which aren’t covered by the show.
Saturday night, Jean sang several numbers, including the Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” before taking a break to sign autographs. Native, consisting of Bluffton teens Ben Hughey, Grayson Lentz, Davis Lentz and Zach Stevens, kept the crowd entertained.
Jean later returned to the stage to sing and play his guitar more after the crowd called out for him by name.
Friends Makenna Mitchell, 14, Vivi Horup, 15, and Ansley Peck, 14, waited about 10 minutes in line, they said, to have their photo taken with Jean. The friends, along with Makenna’s brother Teagan Mitchell, 8, said they watched the show every week to see Jean.
“This is exciting,” Mitchell said. “We all voted for him.”
If You Go
Lee Jean’s next appearance will be Thursday at The Roasting Room Lounge and Listening Room over Corner Perk in Bluffton.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show is at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.
Tickets are limited.
For details, visit roastingroomlounge.com.