In June 2012, country singer Janelle Arthur auditioned for the 12th season of “American Idol” with Keith Urban’s song, “Where the Blacktop Ends.”
This summer she gets to sing it again as part of the show’s annual “American Idol LIVE!” concert tour.
“You get to meet the people who voted for you,” said Arthur. “They’re people who have fallen in love with your story and want to see you.”
The nationwide tour, featuring Arthur and her fellow Idols, makes a stop on Friday at the Patriot Center at George Mason University in Fairfax.
In addition to “Blacktop,” the blonde singer from Tennessee will also be singing “Better Dig Two,” which she performed on the show with The Band Perry.
Arthur came in fifth after Candice Glover, 23, of St. Helena Island, S.C., won the competition.
Second was Kree Harrison, 22, of Woodville, Texas; third, Angie Miller, 18, of Beverly, Mass., and fourth, Amber Holcomb, 18, of Houston.
A singer since childhood, Arthur grew up as a member of the Oliver Springs Church of Christ in Oliver Springs, Tenn.
At age 8, she portrayed Dolly Parton in a show about Parton’s life at Dollywood, a family amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. During her teens she also performed with “Country Tonite,” a music and variety show with singers, comedians, dancers, adults and children, also in Pigeon Forge.
“I think I’ve done about 2,000 shows,” said the stage veteran, who moved to Nashville four years ago to further her career.
Arthur twice auditioned successfully for “American Idol,” but was eliminated in the group round in the 10th season and cut in the Las Vegas round in the 11th season.
“I didn’t take it to heart, I just got back up,” she said about making it to the final rounds this year.
“You’d think after performing for so many years — I knew how to prepare for it,” said Arthur about dealing with the increasing pressure of the show as it moved toward the finale.
“But some things you can’t predict, like the live TV, being judged in front of America and the emotional roller coaster,” she said.
After the season ended in May, Arthur realized her dream of performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, singing the Hank Williams’ classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
“It was incredible,” she said. “It’s been my ultimate dream. It was surreal ... and a huge honor so early in my career.”
She said she lined up some gigs to keep performing after the tour.
“My calendar’s starting to fill up with different events,” said Arthur, whose goal is to land a record contract.
But for right now, she said she’s having a great time traveling around to American cities with her talented fellow Idols.
The troupe is singing some newer songs — ones currently on the radio — in place of the some of older ones they sang during the show, Arthur said.
“We’re no longer in the competition,” she said. “But this is a chance ... to see who we are as artists.”
Also performing along with Arthur and the top four finalists are season 12 contestants Lazaro Arbos, 21, of Naples, Fla.; Curtis Finch Jr., 24, of St. Louis, Mo.; Paul Jolley, 22, of Palmersville, Tenn.; Burnell Taylor, 19, of New Orleans; Devin Velez, 18, of Chicago; and Aubrey Cleland, 19, West Linn, Ore., whom fans voted in through an AT&T promotion.
Arthur said she “feels right doing this tour, singing before such large crowds and arenas.”
“I feel like the stage is my home,” she said.