The parade may have been 65 minutes late, but nobody was leaving their spot as thousands turned out along Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette on Saturday evening to see their hometown singer MacKenzie Bourg.
Bourg reached the final four on Fox’s singing competition series “American Idol” during its episode on Thursday night, and that meant a weekend visit home for the finalists.
In the brief parade, the Mustang convertible carrying a beaming Bourg was followed by one carrying his parents, Michelle Arceneaux and Rudy Bourg.
They were greeted by screaming fans of all ages waving signs and commemorative posters. Some stood on the bottoms of light poles. Others wondered if they’d be lucky enough to get an autograph.
Friends Donna Duck, of Youngsville, and Kim Carter, of Lafayette, who caught a glimpse of Bourg’s “American Idol” limousine on the highway on their way downtown, are longtime “Idol” fans.
“It’s very sad,” Carter said of it being the show’s final season. “And to think this is the last one, and to have the opportunity to come out and support somebody from your hometown, I mean, what are the chances of that?”
When the parade pulled up at Parc International, Bourg stopped to take a selfie with some fans before heading for the concert stage to greet the crowd.
“This has surpassed every expectation I could imagine,” Bourg said of the outpouring of support. “Thanks for making this one of the best days of my life.”
The singer-songwriter, with guitar over his shoulder, performed his trademark stripped-down, slowed-down versions of four songs he’s done on “Idol” — Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and his original piece “Roses.” The audience, when they weren’t screaming, sang along. He followed with Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”
Bourg will appear on “Idol’s” next episode Thursday, when the final three will be announced. The show’s finale, at which the season’s winner will be selected, is April 7.
The 23-year-old Bourg first impressed “Idol” judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and fellow Louisianian Harry Connick Jr. at his audition, when he sang a medley of songs previously recorded by the three artists.
Since he started singing, writing songs and playing the guitar at 15, Bourg’s musical influences have run from Otis Redding to John Mayer to Ed Sheeran.
“They’ve all shaped who I am as a musician and as an artist,” Bourg told The Advocate in a recent phone interview from Hollywood.
And “Idol” has given him the outlet to improve at both, he said.
“My overall stage presence and performance, I feel like I’ve gotten better since I started the show,” he said.
Other finalists in “Idol’s” farewell season are two Mississippians — La’Porsha Renae, of McComb, and Trent Harmon, of Amory— and Dalton Rapattoni, of Dallas.