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Cleveland singer makes debut on American Idol Sunday

A whirlwind year for 19-year-old Mary Jo Young
Mary Jo Young
Posted at 10:06 AM, Feb 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 09:57:58-05

For 19-year-old Mary Jo Young, the shot to stardom happened really quickly.

“I never sang and then started posting on Twitter and TikTok and got a little bit of attention,” Young said.

That little bit of attention translating to five million views on TikTok with over a million likes on her most popular video—a cover of Tate Mcrae’s “You Broke Me First.”

Casting agents from several talent shows and American Idol took notice and reached out.

A whirlwind year for the self-proclaimed "shy" Cleveland teen—Young says she had never actually sang in front of an audience before.

“I was kind of like 'Oh jeez,' I didn’t think that show would reach out and when they did, I felt honored and when they kept reaching out, I was like ‘Oh, ok! This is getting me excited!’” she said, laughing. “I was so hesitant because I had never sang in front of anyone actually — just on video. And I thought, 'You know what, let’s just do it!'”

Her excitement is contagious—and so is her bubbly personality, giving her the confidence she needed to make her debut singing in public in front of the American Idol judges and music legends.

“Lionel [Richie] was super sweet, he gave life advice which nice to know cause I’ll need that. Then Katy [Perry] supported me and Luke [Bryan] was just giving me all the compliments,” Young said. “I’m like, 'Thanks Luke!”

Young graduated from Willoughby Eastlake a couple years ago, and spent the last year studying business at Cleveland State University.

But hey, when you’re young and talented, plans can change quickly.

“I want to be a pop star! I just want to do concerts and make music and I hope I can do more after the show.”

We are all cheering you on, Mary Jo!

The Northeast Ohio native makes her appearance on American Idol Sunday at 8 p.m. — you can catch it on News 5.

You can follow her Instagram by clicking here.