5 Questions for American Idol’s Jurnee

Anyone watching American Idol’s return on ABC this season is familiar with Top 10 finalists Jurnee and Ada Vox; two out LGBTQ contestants who won over the hearts of fans across the country through their hugely successful respective runs on the popular singing competition program.

While Jurnee was eliminated from the Top 5 last weekend, there’s no doubt she has a huge career ahead of her.

During her Idol run, Jurnee won over America’s hearts with her performances that included “Never Enough” (from The Greatest Showman), “How Far I’ll Go” (from Moana), “Run To You,” “Back at One,” and even Ariana, Nicki, and Jessie J's “Bang Bang.” GLAAD caught up with Jurnee after she was eliminated to ask her about what it was like to be one of Idol’s first openly LGBTQ finalists and also to get a preview of what comes next in her career.

(click here to read GLAAD’s 5 Questions for Ada Vox)

Q: Why did you decide to audition for American Idol this season?

A: I did Idol this season to prove to myself that I am enough. The first time I did Idol I wasn’t being myself at all and so I was eliminated. So, after I finally became a proud lesbian and realized who I am and what I would never change about myself, I had to go back to Idol to prove to myself that I truly am good enough. I think I have finally done that.

Q: What sorts of conversations did you have with the producers ahead of time about how your personal life story would be told? Did you insist on having the fact that you’re married to a woman be a part of your public narrative?

A: I wanted to make sure that, first and foremost, Idol knew that I was a married lesbian. I left no room for negative comments or any secrets about who I am. I wanted it to be clear that Idol needed to take me the way that I am or not take me at all.... and at the end of the day, I think they really respected that.

Q: How did you feel when you sang “Never Enough” and your wife, Ashley, was in the audience?

A: The first time I saw The Greatest Showman was with my wife and that song was a special moment for us. I knew right after watching the movie that I had to sing this song to her. It was amazing getting to have that same moment again except we weren’t watching the screen together, I was singing straight to her. It was an emotional dream come true!

Jurnee sings on American Idol with Lea Michele
(ABC/Eric McCandless)

Q: What was your relationship like with Ada Vox, the other LGBTQ contestant in the Top 10 this season?

A: Ada and I were very close and it was hard to see her leave. We are both Tauruses and we just understood each other on every level. We really bonded with the changes we wanted to make to how society sees the LGBTQ community. There is so much work to be done and I think Ada and I are already starting to make a difference.

Q: Although you were eliminated this week from American Idol, many of the show’s most famous alumni - such as Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert - were folks who didn’t win, but still have gone on to have incredible careers… So, what are your goals now for the future?

A: I hope to continue working on music and hopefully put out my first single. I would also love to perform at more pride fests and continue to help make a change in the community. Hopefully, one day I will have enough money to start my own foundation to raise awareness.