- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - For La’Porsha Renae, being runner-up on “American Idol” means there aren’t any more quick trips to the store.

Renae, 22, said she and her sister figured they needed a half-hour for a recent trip to Wal-Mart in McComb to pick up three items for their mother: a juicer, a box of Moon Pies and some orange sherbet. Instead, it took three hours, what with hometown fans wanted autographs, photos, or answers to questions.

“Every aisle we would go down, there would be a group of people looking and pointing and staring,” she told The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/22bFcEt ). “When I got up to the checkout area, a woman said to me, ‘Oh, I finally found you! Last I heard, you were on the cereal aisle.’”

Fans generally apologized for bothering her, she said. “And I’m like, ‘You’re not bothering me.’ Those are the same people who gave me so much support on the show. It’s just taking some getting used to, being recognized anytime I go somewhere.”

She said she was preparing to record her debut album on Universal Motown Records.

“I would like to have it out this year, but the last thing I want to do is rush it and not be pleased with it,” she said. “I want this album to show who I am as an artist, and we weren’t able to do that a lot on the show.”

She was also waiting on the delivery of her new vehicle, a Ford Edge from one of the show’s primary sponsors. “So I’m still driving the car I had before the show - a 1997 Ford Aspire,” she said. “It’s almost an antique, but that’s my baby.”

Renae said she and winner Trent Harmon of Amory helped each other.

“Anytime during rehearsals that I heard something that didn’t sound right, I would go to him and say, ‘Hey, you need to work on this part or that part.’ And he would do the same for me,” she said.

She also said she tried to get out of singing one of the songs that most impressed the judges, “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige, telling the producers she broke down every time she started to sing it. Her prerecorded introduction described the abusive marriage she ended in April 2015, taking her infant daughter to a shelter.

The March 17 performance helped her return from someone who seemed “mysterious” to others on the show to the bubbly, carefree person she’d been before her marriage, she said.

“When I sang that song, I did a 180-degree turnaround,” she said. “It was a moment of embracing what I had gone through, accepting the fact that it did happen. …

“On the stage that night, I declared myself a survivor, not a victim. And it was music that gave me that moment. Music has always, always been there for me.”“

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com


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