"American Idol" season 13 contestant Stephanie Petronelli isn’t just drawing attention with her vocals, she also happens to be a New England Patriots cheerleader.
Petronelli appeared on American Idol’s Boston audition's episode on Wednesday, performing “Grace Potter’s “Paris (Ooh La La)” for the show’s judges. She wore her Patriots cheerleading outfit into the studio and admitted that she may have been practicing a bit too much before the audition.
The 22-year-old’s vocals received mixed reviews -- specifically, Harry Connick Jr. seemed worried about the fact that she doesn’t use her diaphragm to sing -- but a vote of confidence from Jennifer Lopez allowed Petronelli to earn a spot in the next round. When they broke the news, four of Petronelli’s fellow Patriots cheerleaders burst into the audition room to congratulate their friend. “If it’s four of them, it’s a yes,” Connick Jr., said while observing the scene. “I didn’t know that was part of the package.”
Petronelli had to receive special permission from Patriots officials to appear on “American Idol” while wearing the team’s cheerleading outfit, TMZ reports. The team was reportedly happy to approve her request.
American Idol’s producers are so secretive about the show’s results that the Patriots have reportedly agreed to a gag order in regard to Petronelli’s fate this season. A Patriots rep told TMZ that the team was asked not to reveal whether Petronelli advances after the next round of competition.
This isn’t the first time that Petronelli has sang for a large audience. In 2010, she performed the national anthem before a Patriots game, Zap2It notes.
According to her bio on the Patriots’ official team website, Petronelli has been a professional cheerleader for four years. She attends Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, where she majors in strategic communications and public relations.
A video of Petronelli’s “American Idol” audition can be viewed below.