‘American Idol’ contestant performs at Cla-zel tonight

Christie Kerner and Christie Kerner

After auditioning for “American Idol,” the strings of Luke James Shaffer’s guitar will be heard by University students and community members tonight.

He will be performing at Cla-zel on 127 N. Main Street. The doors will open at 8 p.m. and it will cost five dollars to attend.

James last performed at the Cla-zel a few days before he left for the “American Idol” competition.

“I booked him for Friday or Saturday and he left Sunday,” Cla-zel Director of Marketing Banan Alkilani said. “I had no idea it was for American Idol.”

Another local band called Mark Dally will be opening the show for James.

“He’s got a lot of great support because he’s a local of Bowling Green,” Alkilani said.

James started playing guitar before his freshman year of college and has since pursued a career in music and song writing after moving to New York City.

The University alum auditioned in Boston and received the golden ticket to move on to Hollywood in this season’s competition. He made it to the top 25 contestants until the judges let him go.

“I kind of knew what was going on because I had auditioned last year,” James said. “That boosted my confidence.”

James was in Hollywood for five days with 200 other people competing for the title of the next “American Idol.” He describes the experience as a whirlwind with people quickly going in and out of the competition.

“You’re there and then you’re gone,” James said.

He performed three different times in Hollywood and said he was happy with each of his performances.

“After that, your at the mercy of the judges,” he said.

However, James said the exposure and contacts he received while competing on the show has made him better because of it.

His laid back attitude also helped to keep his stress level down in the high-stress atmosphere of the Hollywood competition.

James said it’s sometimes hard to watch the show since he wishes he could be with them.

“I’ve made some cool friends,” James said. “I’ve talked to everyone in the top 12.”

Junior Anna Gorman grew up in Bowling Green and knew James through her brother who traveled to Italy with him. Once she found out he was on the show she started watching it.

“I found out through Facebook and then it randomly came up with my brother,” Gorman said.

She was later disappointed to see him off the show.

“It makes the show more personable,” Gorman said. “It makes people from this town want to watch it.”

James continues to pursue his music career and will have a demo of his music available at the show.

“He’s a great person as well as a great talent so it’s kind of a win-win [situation],” Alkilani said.