Lee University grad a finalist on ‘American Idol’
Clark Beckham had already enrolled in grad school at Lee University and was set to be the student director of Lee’s Campus Choir when he auditioned for “American Idol” in Nashville last summer. But after judges handed him one of “Idol’s” golden tickets to Hollywood, he postponed campus life in Cleveland Tenn., to follow his dreams in California.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Beckham said in a phone interview from Hollywood. “But I know with all my heart that God called me to do exactly what I am doing now. I realized I had to chase what I had dedicated everything I had to, and run as hard as I could toward it.”
Beckham is one of the nine finalists who will sing on tonight’s episode of “American Idol” with hopes of advancing to “Idol’s” Elite Eight. The season 14 winner will be crowned May 13. The singer is the fourth Lee student to make it to the Hollywood rounds or farther on Fox network’s juggernaut reality TV talent show. The others are Phil Stacy, who placed sixth in season six; Chase Guyton, and Jermaine Purifory, who advanced into the Hollywood rounds.
Dr. Paul Conn, Lee University president, says having the university’s students repeatedly garner this national recognition is “beneficial simply because of the positive name brand recognition.”