Joshua Ledet has a now-well publicized fear of flying.
He had to brave that once again Friday for his homecoming to Southwest Louisiana.
The “American Idol” contestant flew into Chennault Airport late Friday evening where he was greeted by a crowd of about 200
— family, friends, fans and a horde of media from around the state.
“I can’t do that,” the gospel-singing Ledet said of his first thoughts upon entering the close quarters of the private jet
with 15 to 20 other people.
But he was peering out the window by the time the plane approached Southwest Louisiana.
“I recognized the 210 bridge and I was freaking out,” the Westlake native said during a press conference at the airport. “I
was like,’look, the 210 bridge!’ and everybody was like ‘what?’ I was excited.”
Ledet was greeted by cheers as he emerged from the plane.
“You never know the support you have until you come back and see it,” Ledet said. “Seeing all these people made me want to
break out in tears.”
Ledet is one of three remaining contestants on the show. The others are Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips. Phillips emerged
from the plane two signs autographs for a few minutes before re-boarding to continue on his way to his hometown of Leesburg,
Ledet’s closest friend on the show, Hollie Cavanagh, was eliminated Thursday night.
“Watching her go was tough,” said Ledet, who cried during Cavanagh’s farewell song Thursday. “It’s still tough, I cried a
little bit on the plane. We just had so much in common. When I was upset about something she would be there to pick me up
and when she was upset I would pick her up.”
When asked what his favorite songs to sing have been, Ledet said he was unsure, then said, “When a Man Loves a Woman” and
“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” His performance of the two songs has gotten rave reviews. He said when choosing his songs
he has to connect with them in the first 10 seconds.
He’s also sung several duets with Phillips, who he said is quite the card.
“He seems quiet on TV, but he is so crazy,” Ledet said. “The whole time we’re performing, he’s laughing, making these faces
at me. If you watched Wednesday, you can see that I was laughing in the middle of my song because he was behind the table
making weird faces at me.”
Ledet, who has eight brothers and sisters, said he does his best to keep up with his family.
“I make time to talk to my mother (Jacklyn) because I know she goes crazy,” Ledet said. “When I need support and prayer I
talk to my daddy
(Nathaniel). My sisters and brothers, they’ve been supporting me as well.”
He called his mother his biggest musical influence.
“A lot of people don’t know it, but she can sing,” he said.
When asked what genre of music he wants to sing when “Idol” is completed, Ledet said, “Nothing crazy, not nothing over the
top. Just something I believe in, that my family believes in, something that speaks to people, something positive.”
What he said he’s looking forward to most while back in Southwest Louisiana is “going back to Westlake High School and seeing
all the teachers and friends that have been with me before ‘Idol.’ “
• For a copy of the parade route, click here.
• For more information, go the Visitor's Bureau website www.visitlakecharles.org/teamjosh.
• Pick up a copy of the American Press on Saturday for our exclusive Josh Ledet Cheer Poster.