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Jacob Lusk was named one of the top 11 finalists for Season 10 of "American Idol," the popular Fox Television musical contest and reality TV show, in 2011. As such, Lusk is listed for the 2011 "Idols Live" nationwide tour.
"We've been waiting for you," gushed "Idol" judge Steven Tyler on-air. Later, during the Hollywood round, Randy Jackson dubbed Lusk's cover of Billie Holliday's "God Bless the Child" as the best-ever audition in the history of "Idol."
The crooner from Compton
With no formal vocal training, the 23-year-old African-American singer, church music minister and spa concierge points to his own late father as his primary musical influence. Lusk says he dreams of performing at the Hollywood Bowl and would love to sing with "I Will Always Love You" with Whitney Houston someday.
His favorite recording artists include Yolanda Adams, Aretha Franklin, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Amel Larrieux and Luther Vandross.
In 2007, Lusk auditioned and joined InNate Praise, a gospel group formed by the late "Nate Dogg" Hale that gave concerts at Los Angeles County churches. The two became close friends, leading to Lusk's recent Tweets of grief over the artist's death.
Born June 23, 1987, in Compton, California, Lusk began singing as a child. In addition, he enjoys acting and playing the piano. On Twitter, he calls himself an "actor, singer and songwriter who delivers from his soul." Onstage, his expressive deliveries and earnest tears prove this to be true.
The teddy bear with the giant voice
On "Idol," Lusk has become known as much for his prodigious vocals as his cuddliness. Offering one of his more memorable quips, Tyler said this to Lusk on the show: "Gospel had a baby, and they named it Jacob Lusk."
After his Top 11 performance, Tyler climbed on stage to give the R&B and gospel singer a hug and a kiss. Then host Ryan Seacrest invited fans from the audience to step up to hug the finalist.
In the early weeks of Season 10, Lusk sang a Vandross version of Dionne Warwick's "A House Is Not a Home," R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly," i-TEN's "Alone" and Marvin Gaye's "You're All I Need to Get By."
After Lusk performed "A House Is Not a Home," Tyler exclaimed, "I'm honored ... honored to be in your presence. You make me cry when you sing. I don't know where you get it from, but I will bathe in it."
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