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April 16, 2013

Groves grandmother visits 'Idol' singer in LA

GROVES — These days, Kree Harrison has plenty to brag about.

The 22-year-old Woodville native, who lived in Bridge City briefly during her high school years, has captivated everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Keith Urban with her “velvety-rich” voice and understated Southern charm.

But when her grandmother arrived at her Los Angeles hotel for a visit on April 9, talking about herself was the furthest thing from Harrison’s mind.

“She said, ‘Mammy, I just can’t wait for you to meet my roommate,’” said Beverly Mire, Harrison’s grandmother and a Groves resident. “‘Her name is Angie, and she’s going to be my friend forever.’”

As most Americans with a television set would know, Angie is Angela Miller — the Massachusetts native who has become as much of a household name on this season of “American Idol” as Harrison herself.

“I said, ‘Kree, I know Angie,’” Mire laughed. “‘The whole world knows Angie.’”

The “Idol” finalists will be shocked to confront their newfound fame after the show ends, Mire said.

“They’re kind of living in a bubble,” she said. “They don’t realize we all know them.”

Mire spent two nights in Los Angeles visiting her granddaughter. During that time, she was introduced to Harrison’s fellow “Idol” hopefuls — Miller, Janelle Arthur, Candice Glover, Amber Holcomb and Lazaro Arbos, who was eliminated Wednesday night. Mire called them “delightful.”

“They’re just like one big happy family,” she said. “You can just see that they’re happy for each other and they love one another. There’s no cutthroat.”

Mire said she was thrilled to see that her granddaughter is receiving the celebrity treatment when she is so far away from home.

“They get up at the crack of dawn and they have to go all day, but they have a huge support staff that takes care of them,” Mire said. “They have good, healthy food, voice coaches, producers — it made me feel really good about that whole operation. As a grandmother, you want to make sure that she’s well taken care of. ”

Mire also had the opportunity to attend the show on Wednesday and Thursday, where Harrison yet again won over judges with her performances of “What the World Needs Now Is Love” by Jackie DeShannon and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

“Part of what she sang was a cappella, and Mariah (Carey) commented that she did it really good,” Mire said. “ They said they know they’ll see her at next year’s country awards.”

Regardless of the outcome, this is an experience Harrison isn’t likely to forget, Mire said.

“No matter what happens from here, she is very happy with the whole experience,” Mire said. “She’s really relaxed and enjoying herself, but she can’t wait to get back on stage again. She enjoys what she’s doing tremendously.”

However, Mire stressed her granddaughter’s need for votes. Harrison ranked among the top two contestants last week — along with Glover — but that doesn’t necessarily solidify her spot in the finals.

“When it gets to the end, people think, ‘Well, she’s in the top two, so she’s definitely going to be in there,’ and maybe they’ll think they don’t have to vote,” Mire said. “But that’s just the top two for this week. That can change. We have to vote to keep her there.”

Season 12 of “American Idol” wraps up May 16, the day before Harrison’s birthday. Mire plans to make a return trip to Los Angeles on that day. However, she hopes that Harrison turning 23 won’t be the only cause for celebration.

“She’s pretty consistent, and she seems to have a really huge fan base,” Mire said. “And she’s down to earth and is in it for the right reasons. She’s just exactly what they think she is.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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