DESTREHAN – The first time she performed on stage, she was 10 years old and it was at a 4-H talent show at Destrehan High School. This week, millions around the world watched as she took the televised audition stage as a 20-year-old on the singing competition show American Idol.
Destrehan native Faith Becnel took a trip last fall to Oregon with her mom, dad, guitar player and a few other family members. That trip was to audition for American Idol, and on Sunday night the country was able to go behind the doors of that audition and discover that Becnel received an elusive “golden ticket”, which means she advances in the show and travel to Hollywood where she will perform in front of a live studio audience.
“That day was so intense,” Becnel said of her now-televised audition where she sang for musical star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. “I kind of got a little taste of what it’s like to be a superstar because there were cameras everywhere and I was being pulled into a million directions. I learned a lot in that one day of what it’s like to be in the industry.”
Becnel said the audition was uncomfortable for her because it was a new environment for her to perform in.
“I walked out of the room saying, ‘That was rough,” Becnel remembered. “I knew I didn’t do my best because I just was not in my element. I’m so used to being in front of crowds and having all of that energy from people. I knew if I got the golden ticket I’d be more in my element and more comfortable.”
Because she knew she would be performing live at the 2020 Los Isleños Fiesta in Chalmette on Sunday night when American Idol aired, Becnel planned ahead and had huge screens at her performance. She paused her musical set and watched, with the festival’s crowd, her televised audition as it aired.
“It was absolutely incredible … just very moving,” Becnel said of watching her clip with the audience of nearly 1,000 people. “It was a moment I’ll never forget. It’s just the best way I could have watched it.”
Becnel recorded her first CD, “I Believe”, at 12 years old and formed her own band by age 13. In the years since, she’s made several television and radio appearances on local news outlets, as well as has performed throughout Louisiana and surrounding states at events such as Alligator Fest, Andouille Fest, French Quarter Fest and Sacred Heart Fair. She’s also performed on stage with famous Louisiana artists and bands including Vince Vance, Irma Thomas, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and The Top Cats.
“Our culture is so supportive here in Louisiana,” Becnel said not only of everyone following her career, but also of other local musicians who have mentored her. “Our culture is to be passionate about music. It’s such a blessing and it’s made me who I am.”
Becnel said she’s unsure of when her next performance will air on the show, but said that she can’t wait for everyone to follow along throughout the season.
Until the end of the season, American Idol will air Sundays and Mondays at 7 p.m. central on ABC.