Dewey H. Whitson Stadium hosts Beckham and American Idol

Phil Stauder/Robertson County Times

By Nicole Young for The Robertson County Times

“American Idol” finalist Clark Beckham took the stage at his homecoming concert on the football field at White House Municipal Park on Friday night, looked out into the crowd of about 8,000 people and told them that he couldn’t believe they were all there just to see him.

The 22-year-old street performer had spent all of Friday filming his homecoming visit for next week’s episode of “American Idol,” scheduled to air on Wednesday.

His day began with a street performance in Nashville and ended with the concert in White House with stops at his alma mater, Community Christian Schools of White House, and a parade in between.

During the various stops on his tour, Beckham — one of four contestants remaining in the competition — repeatedly told the people who had gathered to support him how good it felt to be back in Tennessee.

“To come home, it just kind of brings me back to, you know, where it started and where this passion of mine was fostered, and is what it is,” he said during a brief interview on Friday. “If it wasn’t for home and home people, then I would never be able to do what I do in Hollywood on ‘Idol.’ ”

Beckham spent about an hour on stage performing Friday night for the crowd.

The concert featured mostly popular tunes, but it also included one of Beckham’s original songs as well as a Christian song. At one point, Beckham was joined on stage by about 75 members of the Lee University choir, surprise guests that he did not know would be in attendance, he said. Beckham graduated from the university.

He also performed a song with his father, Virgil Beckham.

Roger Cory, 57, of Cottontown, said he enjoyed Beckham’s performance. He and his wife stayed for the concert after she marched in Beckham’s homecoming parade with the American Legion. He had never heard of Beckham before last week, he said.

“When she was going to be in the parade, I said, ‘Well, let me go on YouTube and take a look at some of the video from “American Idol,” ‘ and I was blown away,” he said. “This man’s a star. I’ll be watching for the rest of the season.”

Beckham is scheduled to fly back to Hollywood to resume rehearsals for “American Idol” on Saturday, he said from the stage Friday night.

Before the music began, Mayor Mike Arnold presented the singer with a key to the city and read a proclamation in his honor. Beckham was also given a proclamation from state Sen. Kerry Roberts and state Rep. Sabi Kumar during the festivities.

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