City nurtures singing sensation

Laura Sturza

Burbank resident J.D. Adams -- one of 32 semifinalists picked from

70,000 people who auditioned for “American Idol” -- is bringing a bit

of attention to his hometown.


Though the lifelong resident’s Tuesday performance of Stevie

Wonder’s “All in Love is Fair” did not qualify him as a finalist,

Adams’ talent grabbed people’s attention.

“Every one of my students is watching,” teacher Pam Pouliot said


Tuesday of her John Muir Middle School students. “He is bringing

recognition from all over the country to Burbank.”

The 20-year-old singer and his mother Lisa credit the

award-winning choir programs at John Muir and Burroughs High School

with readying him to stand confidently in the spotlight.

“It really prepared me, with all the huge shows we had,” the

singer and former president of his high school choir said.

He decided to go to the Nov. 18 Rose Bowl audition after being


inspired by watching the program, and because of his friends’

encouragement. Since the finals were taped in Los Angeles, he had the

hometown advantage and was able to draw on the support of his friends

and family, he said.

But the buzz around Adams isn’t limited to Burbank. Former

classmate Michelle Nunes, now a student at San Diego State

University, gathered her friends to watch him on the show, which airs

on Fox-TV Channel 11.


“He has charisma and attitude and it was just waiting for someone

to find him,” Nunes said.

The competitive choir circuit has produced other stars, such as

Lance Bass of ‘N Sync, said Brett Carroll, Burbank High School’s new

vocal music director.

“These programs are good training grounds for people who aspire to

do these things,” Carroll said.

When Adams was at the school, he was directed by Michelle Jensen,

who started the program. His sister is a member of one of the five

choir programs directed by Carroll.

One parent of Pouliot’s students from the 1980s still contributes

$1,000 each year, videotapes the shows and copies them for each of

the 200 singers, Pouliot said.

Adams plans for a future in the entertainment industry, whether it

is in front of the cameras or behind them, he said.

His mother hopes he will complete college, having started work

toward a music degree at Asuza Pacific University and Glendale

Community College.

“I just want him to be a confident, moral human being that has

success in whatever he does,” she said.