What makes Minnesota 'American Idol' contestant stand out

 A Minnesota "American Idol" contestant may have what it takes to light up the stage in the coming weeks.

Whether he's performing with his own band at First Avenue, or his brother's, The White Iron Band around town, Mark Andrew has been fixture on the local music scene for years, but he can't wait to appear on his biggest stage yet on "American Idol." Sure, the show has been around a long time, but you can't argue with the results for some of today's biggest names in music.

A 2003 graduate of Eden Prairie High School, he's one of two Minnesotans who received a golden ticket and a spot in the running.

"There's a lot of anticipation and I'm just excited to be on TV again and have people see what I can do," he said.

Andrew works for his parent's landscaping business, but last September, he was one of thousands of hopefuls who auditioned for the show when the celebrity judges came to town, which he described as a nerve-wracking experience.

"Time kind of disappears when you are in that situation. You are so in the moment. I have no idea how long I was in front of them," he said.

Luckily, Andrew had been on a singing competition show before. He made it to the Top 48 on the fourth season of "The Voice," but he was knocked out in the battle rounds. This time, he believes he has the chops to go all the way.

"I think the best comment I got from the night was from Harry [Connick Jr.]. He said he loves my voice so much, it's the kind of voice he wants to check in on every couple of years to see how it matured and changed. That felt really good to hear that. Being a musician and working so long on what you do, to have someone of his stature say that to you, it's pretty awesome."

Regardless of what his future holds on American Idol, Andrew says we haven't heard the last of him yet.

"I'm not stopping that's for sure. I'm hoping I'll be more successful and won't have to break my back with a shovel every day," he said.

As for what makes him stand out?

"I think the interesting thing about me as a vocalist is I don't sound like anyone else. I have a unique tone and I really put my emotion into my lyrics and try to connect with the lyrics so people can connect with the song."


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