Follow along with the Tennesseans competing on American Idol


Walker Burroughs, Kason Lester, and Eddie Island are all Middle Tennessee guys looking to become the next American Idol. We’ve talked to each one about their experience on the show and what sets them apart. 

Kason Lester

Kason made quite the splash when he gave gifts to the judges from his family farm in Lebanon. There was jam, strawberries, the whole works. Kason and his brother run the family’s farm, and it’s something he’s done since he was six-years-old. He told the show he would usually plant 30,000 strawberries by hand. After all the talk about strawberries, Kason played a Chris Janson (he actually looks a lot like Chris) song. Lionel liked the growl in his voice, and also called Kason top-10 material. Luke liked his voice, but says he needed to hone in on his “key, signature sound.” He made it to Hollywood unanimously. 

Eddie Island

Eddie is different, and we like that a lot. He even has googly eyes on his guitar…that are held on by tape. Before he even sang a note, he was told he had an infectious smile. Then, the rideshare drive started an original song, full of passion and vibrato. This time, Katy did not write Top-10, but she did write down STAR. Luke Bryan invited him to play at his Nashville bar, and Lionel Richie said Eddie has the whole package. Katy said it was a pleasure to be in his presence. All the judges are on the Island now. 

Jake Durkin

Jake moved to town from Massachusettes on sort of a whim. He remembers telling his parents he was moving to Nashville and the nearly immediate sadness they expressed. He said he moved here because he wanted to be around the best songwriters in the world and grow his career. He auditioned first for producers, and then in front of the judges in Louisville. He said he was pretty anxious, but felt he made a good connection with the judges. Mostly, he tried to give them an authentic performance, and he told us he thinks he did that. Jake made it to Hollywood, and we’re excited to watch his journey. He says his biggest influences are Jason Isbell, The Lumineers, and Allen Stone. 

I’d like to say thanks and good luck to Jake Durkin on the rest of his American Idol journey!!! It was surreal watching this clip. Nicely done Jake. I’ll be cheering you on the rest of the way.— Jesse Roper (@jesseropershow) March 7, 2019

Bonus Auditions!

There are a couple of performers we have our eye on. One from East Tennessee and another that goes to Belmont. 

Drake McCain

Our sister-station in Knoxville has a ton of info on Drake and his very, very special role in his family. Read it here. But, we’ll cover the highlights. Drake is the son of a single mother and he has eight sisters and two brothers. He’s the oldest and takes care of the house when his mom is working. He works at a grocery store where he’s known to sing from time to time. And, he has about a five-inch tall flattop haircut. It’s seriously impressive. Drake sang a gospel tune and left Luke Bryan smiling ear to ear. Katy Perry even joined him in singing. The two harmonized as if they’d rehearsed together for hours before his audition. Lionel Richie said Drake had what it takes to go far, and Luke and Katy gave a few tips for Drake to work on before his next performance in Hollywood. 

Walker Burroughs

Walker is from Birmingham, but he’s currently a student at Belmont University where he’s studying…you guessed it, music. Walker sat down at the piano for his audition and played a Ben Rector (an artist who also lives in Nashville) song. Katie Perry said his performance was effortless and gave him a standing ovation. She also called him Top-10 material. Walker’s only response was “Good Heavens!” 

Since he was playing piano, the trio of judges asked if he knew any Lionel Richie music and he promptly played “Hello.”  He made it to Hollywood, obviously. 

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