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Claremont’s Evelyn Cormier competes on ‘American Idol’

  • Evelyn Cormier, of Claremont, N.H., performs on the "American Idol" TV show in Oct. 2018. (ABC - Nicole Rivelli)



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, March 08, 2019

In her new single, Yard Sale Guitar, Evelyn Cormier contemplates life as a young, struggling musician, subsisting on small-town gigs and big dreams.

Metaphorically speaking, she may not be singing that tune much longer. The Claremont native is a contestant on the new season of American Idol, which began last week. Her audition in front of judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, taped last fall, will air next Sunday, March 17, on ABC.

Cormier, 20, isn’t allowed to say much about her high-stakes performance on a reality show that has jump-started the careers of such big-name musicians as Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson, but she can attest that it’s as terrifying as it looks.

“It was definitely very scary having to stand in front of the judges, because they are really judging you,” Cormier said in a telephone interview from her home in Claremont this week.

But if those moments behind the mic were nerve-wracking, the singing competition that came of age under the withering gaze of British music executive Simon Cowell wasn’t the pressure cooker that Cormier assumed it might be.

“There’s a feeling that everyone on the show is cutthroat and mean. I didn’t feel that at all,” said Cormier, who serves as worship leader at Lake Sunapee Baptist Church and teaches French and musical electives at Claremont Christian Academy. “I felt like there was a lot of support from everyone ... it was just a really cool experience.”

It wasn’t Cormier’s first time in the spotlight. Home-schooled for most of her academic career, she was active in theater and took French and guitar at Stevens High School. She started playing the violin at age 4, began singing in church when she was 10 or 11 and became lead singer of a local band that included her father, Micaiah, and brother, Solomon, when she was 13. Cormier’s first EP, Ghost, which showcases her songwriting skills and velvety voice, came out in 2017.

While her musical career is just beginning to bud, Cormier has already enjoyed a measure of fame on the small screen. American Idol is actually her second reality show run. In 2017, Cormier and then-fiance David Vasquez Zermeno were on the TLC reality show 90 Day Fiance, which follows couples navigating the fiance visa process. Cormier said she and Zermeno, who is from Spain, met through mutual friends after he followed her on Instagram. They were already engaged and planning their wedding when one of Cormier’s friends suggested they audition for the show. A camera crew followed the couple around Claremont as they went about their daily routine, planned their wedding and exchanged vows.

Whether another happy ending is in the works remains to be seen. Cormier, who had to make it through several rounds of preliminary auditions to get her shot in front of the Idol judges, isn’t allowed to say whether she received a coveted “golden ticket” that secures her a spot at Hollywood Week, the next round of televised auditions. Rumors circulating on fan sites suggest that she did.

Either way, local fans are eager to watch her on the hit show, which debuted on Fox in 2002 and was one of the most-watched shows in TV history in its heyday. It was picked up by ABC after a two-year hiatus and is now in its second season on the network.

“We’re definitely very excited about it,” said Tim Groos, principal of Claremont Christian Academy’s middle and high school.

Groos said he doesn’t watch TV but will make an exception to watch Cormier’s performance. He’s observed Cormier working with a small performing group at the school and is impressed with her abilities.

“She knows what she’s talking about,” he said. “She’s helping them sharpen their skills for sure.”

Groos said Cormier has remained low-key about her shot at fame. That hasn’t stopped students from being a bit star-struck, however.

“They’ve been treating me a little different,” Cormier said.

Cormier’s audition has also caused a stir around the community. The Facebook groups What’s Up Claremont and What’s Really Up Claremont were both abuzz with well wishes after news broke that she was a contestant on the show. 

Those who tune in to Cormier’s audition will see her perform Pompeii by the pop band Bastille as well as Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray and Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. (She’s not sure which portions of her performance will actually air.)

The latter two “are like my go-to songs when I’m playing out live,” Cormier said. “They’re songs that I’ve felt a connection to.”

If judges are duly impressed, viewers will see Cormier receive a ticket to Hollywood Week, which will air on March 24 and 25. Contestants will then be winnowed to 40 and then 20 in taped shows airing over the next several weeks. Live shows, with audiences voting to determine who moves forward in the competition, are slated for April 21 through May 20.

Whatever happens, Cormier said she intends to keep pursuing her dream of being a full-time musician. For now, she has no plans to leave Claremont, where she lives with her new husband and continues to lead music at her church and work on writing, recording and performing with her family.

“My end goal in life is just to do what God has called me to do in my life,” she said.

Sarah Earle can be reached at searle@vnews.com and 603-727-3268.