Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 20, 2014

'Idol' homecoming

McQuillen leaves reality show disappointed, but poised for future

When three of Hollywood’s top recording stars talk to you about your voice strengths and weaknesses, you are very grateful for the meeting and take lots of notes.

At least that’s what Andover’s Casey McQuillen did last week.

While the 21-year-old singer-songwriter may have seen her “American Idol” hopes fade after being cut from this season’s reality show competition on Feb. 12, she is feeling buoyed by the opportunity and exposure she gained as a contestant — however short-lived.

McQuillen said she learned a lot from the feedback she received from the “Idol” judges — Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and especially Harry Connick Jr. — after she failed to proceed to the next round in the competition.

Before she left the stage, McQuillen said she had a chance to talk to the judges, with Connick providing the best takeaway.

“He told me to attack my music career with vigor ... to put out CDs and to keep singing with my Berklee connections,” said McQuillen, a 2011 Phillips Academy graduate who grew up in town and is now pursuing her education at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“He is so nice, was so supportive and although my singing may not be enough to be the next (”American Idol” megastar) Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, he talked to me about Berklee and getting a music education.”

McQuillen, who made it to the Hollywood round of the competition and was among the final 75 still standing before being sent home, was not alone in getting eliminated from the show last week. She said female singers were hit hardest by the show’s ax.

“You couldn’t tell on what aired, but 15 girls and just three guys were cut. ... The show needs guys,” she said.

While disappointed, McQuillen stayed positive. “It’s been a crazy ride! I told the judges that #AmericanIdol was just a stop for me, not the whole journey, and they agreed,” she immediately posted on Facebook. “The judges were incredibly supportive and complimentary and I left Hollywood feeling better about my career than ever before.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Demos, discussions for 8th annual Animal Rights Day Posted 6 days ago
  • Out & About: Spring Egg Hunt Posted 6 days ago

    Courtesy photo Kristin Bair O'Keeffe

    'Floating' back to readers Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos

    Courtesy photo Sophia Landay of Andover, right, and Emily Ewing of Reading rehearse their piece for this weekend's "Rhythms of Hope" homage to South Africa at Phillips Academy. The seniors are part of a group of students from the private secondary school who will be touring the production to South Africa this summer.

    'Rhythms of Hope' for South Africa Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo

    Courtesy photo Judith F. Dolkart will assume the director's role at Addison Gallery of American Art on the campus of Phillips Academy in July.

    Addison Gallery taps Philadelphia art curator as new director Updated 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • 'Hot-blooded' season finale for Mistral Music Posted 13 days ago

    Courtesy photo Lifetime master gardener Betty Sanders offers vegetable gardening tips in a program Monday morning at South Church in Andover.

    ' Make Way for (new) Ducklings' Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo

    Courtesy photo Members of the Andover Sister Towns Association of Andover/North Andover board plan this week's Whistler tour at the Addison Gallery of American Art as well as the upcoming exchange visit of sightseeing tours, events and cultural activities with the group's "twin" organization from Andover, England in September. Board members are, from left, Diane Huster, Marjorie Snell, Don Robb, Fred Snell, Belva Hopkins, Elaine Meisinger and Kathy Stevens.

    Out & About: Dig in for spring vegetable gardening primer Posted 13 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, March 27, 2014
  • 140313_AT_MSC_GREEK_3

    Iconographer George Papastamatiou of Byzantine Artworks in Newton puts the final touches on the moulding around one of the 23 new Byzantine icons installed at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Andover.

    In sacred color Posted 20 days ago 8 Photos

    Courtesy image Karla Cook's pastel "Bruno" will be among the pieces she displays this weekend for Saltbox Gallery in Topsfield's Spring Art Show and Sale.

    Out & About: Local duo keep Celtic beat going Posted 20 days ago 2 Photos

Pictures of the Week