American Idol Contestant Jay Copeland

Delmarva’s Own Jay Copeland, 2022 American Idol contestant. Photo Credit:

American Idol is in its 20th season this year, and Delmarva’s Own resident, Jay Copeland is a contestant. He joined the Delmarva’s Own podcast to talk about the experience.


Jay Copeland faces the judges once again after his performance on the Disney Week episode. Photo Credit:

What do Jay Copeland and Justin Bieber have in common?

Justin Bieber and Jay Copeland were both discovered by professionals looking for talent. In the case of Bieber, record executive Scott “Scooter” Braun discovered his videos on YouTube. Jay Copeland was found by a talent producer at American Idol when they saw his Instagram videos of him singing. Surprise! There’s sometimes more to the auditions than we might think, and for good reason.

The image we come away with from watching American Idol is that Idol hopefuls show up by the thousands and stand in line waiting for their opportunity to audition in front of three celebrity judges. The judges have changed throughout the years, and for the 2022 season the judge lineup includes Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lionel Richie, Pop sensation Katy Perry, and Country Star Luke Bryan. True to style, in the early episodes viewers were introduced to contestant hopefuls as they waited for a chance to audition, and we learned the backstories of those lucky enough to gain the eyes and ears of the producers. But, as that little voice in the back of your mind might have suggested, sometimes there’s more to the story that we know.

Any business and production worth, well, anything, doesn’t leave their success to chance, and there’s no way American Idol is going to leave its success to the hopeful chance that the next pop vocal superstar is randomly waiting in line. It’s important the deck is stacked a bit in their favor, and to ensure this happens, the production team does their research to find talented contestants. And this is how contestant Jay Copeland came to apply and eventually audition for American Idol. They asked him to, telling him he had a good shot at winning.  Jay told us more about these early conversations when he joined us on the Delmarva’s Own podcast.

Jay Copeland at Disneyland for Disney week. Photo Credit:

Why did Jay Copeland get so many parking tickets in college?

This is a somewhat odd question to ask, but there’s a backstory here. Delmarva’s Own podcast is the way it’s creator and founder, Jeff Scott (that’s me) gets to know Delmarva better. But I also have to pay the bills with an actual job that pays actual money. To do this, I serve as a police dispatcher at Copeland’s alma mater, Salisbury University. When Jay was first introduced to me a couple of weeks back, he immediately asked if I could get him out of his parking tickets he’d accrued while a student at SU. If you’re wondering, I cannot help Jay in this way. SU has a Parking Office which handles all parking issues including tickets. But it became the subject of playful banter between Jay and me.

Now, I don’t know many tickets Jay accrued, but I do know why he got them and how he can avoid more in the future. He got them because he violated campus parking regulations, and he can avoid future parking violations by following the parking rules – on campus or anywhere else for that matter. I kidded Jay about this when we talked on Delmarva’s Own podcast. It was good for a laugh, though I’m not sure Jay appreciated my admonition! Check out the podcast for more.

Jay Copeland debriefs with Ryan Seacrest after his performance on Disney Week. Photo Credit:

What brings Jay Copeland the most joy about being a contestant on American Idol?

Jay loves his hometown and the region where he grew up. Like the rest of the country, it’s seen its share of challenges over the past two years. Between the pandemic and the struggle for social justice, we Delmarvians (Delmarvans? Delmarvanites???) have been a bit on edge, often with each other. Jay tells us that its brought Joy to his heart to see his home uniting together to support him. As he talked about it my co-host, Randy and I could tell his statements were genuine, and that he cares about his home, at one point stating he’d be friends with everyone if he could.

Delmarva’s Own is committed to telling the story of Delmarva, including the history of its people. Check out some of our past episodes about Araminta Ross (AKA Harriet Tubman), Negro League ball player Dr, Kirkland Hall, and other black founders of the Delmarva region. Be sure to check out one of our earliest – and to date the most popular – episode about Ferry Operator Ray Hoffman and the Eastern Shore ferries.

Why did Jay Copeland have such strong words about Lionel Richie and what is he predicting about him?

Rock-N-Roll Hall of Famer, Lionel Richie. “Did you think I wouldn’t get elected?!” Photo Credit:

The day before our interview with Jay, it was announced that American Idol Lionel Richie would be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first time an American Idol judge has been elected to the Hall while the show was in production. Jay was thrilled, to say the least. “I saw that! I said, ‘he deserves that’…that’s going to be a huge thing on Sunday, for sure because he deserves it. He’s such a kind hearted man. He deserves…all of that!”

I went on for a little bit about the one question I’d ask Lionel Richie given the chance. You can hear the question by listening to the podcast. It was a question about his 1985 Oscar winning song (Original song for the film White KnightsSay You, Say Me.

What news did Jay Copeland break on the Delmarva’s Own podcast?

While talking with Jay we asked him at what point during the week he makes a decision about the song he would sing in the next round of competition. Eventually, he let us know that on the Sunday, May 8th episode he’d be singing Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing. You heard it here first!

Watch him perform it ABC channel, Sunday night at 8PM EST.

Would Jay Copeland do American Idol again?

As much as Jay is appreciative of his experience on American Idol, he told us that it’s a lot of work and that he wouldn’t audition again. But at this point, given he’s made the top 7 (and Lionel Richie’s continuous praise of his abilities), we’re pretty sure he’s going to have a strong career no matter the outcome on American Idol.

Check out our interview with Jay by clicking this link.

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