- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - “American Idol” runner-up La’Porsha Renae delivered a soulful rendition of “Amazing Grace” to a standing ovation in the Mississippi House on Thursday, closing the session on a high note.

The 22-year-old single mother from McComb, who overcame domestic abuse to compete in the final season of the Fox TV contest, sang a capella just before lawmakers adjourned what had been at times a tense and divisive session.

“We sure needed that,” State Rep. John Hines of Greenville said afterward.

Renae had finished second to “American Idol” winner Trent Harmon of Amory, a self-described “dude from Mississippi” who grew up on a farm and worked as a waiter at his family’s restaurant. Both Mississippi natives dominated the fifteenth and last season of the hit singing competition, prompting Renae to joke Thursday that the finale was really a “Mississippi Idol.”

She said she’s proud to have represented the state but happy to be back.

“It feels so good to be at home,” said Renae, holding her daughter Nayalee as she spoke at the podium usually occupied by the House speaker. “I love Mississippi.”

Once a ratings powerhouse that influenced TV and music, “American Idol” had suffered steady audience erosion before Fox decided it would end after this season.

Thousands of people turned out in late March to see Harmon and Renae when they visited their respective hometowns. Each singer received a homecoming parade and performed a concert for family, friends and fans.


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