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Two Baltimore-area residents advance to the next round in 'American Idol'

Two Baltimore-area residents advance to the next round in 'American Idol'
Dimitrius Graham, left and Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, right, perfoming on ABC's "American Idol." (Courtesy Photos / ABC — American Idol)

Having survived a grueling “Hollywood Week” experience on two episodes of ABC’s popular “American Idol” that aired Sunday and Monday, two local performers have moved on to the show’s next round.

Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, of Catonsville, and Dimitrius Graham, of Windsor Mill, both in their 20s, successfully performed for celebrity judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie in December in Hollywood as solo artists and as members of two groups. Those are the episodes that just aired.

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That allowed them to proceed to the “Green Mile” showcase, which filmed in January in Hawaii and airs March 31. If they make it beyond the Green Mile (the results are kept a secret), they’ll appear in live and live-to-tape episodes beginning April 14.

“It’s just an amazing feeling. I’m so grateful and blessed to even be here,” Graham said of his Hollywood Week performance.

Harmon became a viral mini-sensation after his audition episode, in which he performed an original song entitled “Almost Heaven,” aired March 10. He got some praise from the judges for being a pastor’s kid who used to work as a janitor for a living.

“I’ve gotten a lot of love from every direction,” Harmon said. “As an artist, once you connect with people on that level, that kind of transcends any competition. That’s what I’m all about, that’s why I make music, it’s to connect with people and to share my story.”

He is a JANITOR 😱

Posted by American Idol on Sunday, March 10, 2019

Harmon is a student at Towson University; Graham graduated with a degree in classical music from Morgan State University in Baltimore. Harmon’s family moved around a lot, and he went to high school in Tennessee. Graham, on the other hand, is a graduate of Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore County.

Harmon said his boyfriend has been able to travel with him during the process. Harmon came out to his family about three-and-a-half years ago, he said.

“It’s been a challenge, but we’ve learned how to navigate difficult conversations and love each other wherever we are,” Harmon said.

Graham, meanwhile, has not been as fortunate — his mother was unable to travel with him during the filming process, because she was recovering from surgery.

Shortly before he got on stage to sing in front of the judges during Hollywood Week, he asked if he could FaceTime his mom. That way, he said, it would “bring up her spirits,” even though she couldn’t be with him.

Now she’s doing better, Graham said, and “really looking forward to this journey.”

When the two Baltimore-area residents appear during the Green Mile showcase, they’ll be among 40 contestants, a spokeswoman for the singing competition confirmed.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Graham said. “There are two sides of me. One is like, ‘Yeah, you’re a bad***, you’re going to kill it.’ The other is like, ‘No, nobody cares what this kid from Baltimore is going to do.’”

To make it through the Hollywood Week episodes that aired Sunday and Monday nights, Graham and Harmon had to sing for the judges three times — first, as part of a lineup where they each had about 30 seconds to stand out from nine other singers. Then, the contestants who tmade it beyond the first round were split into groups and had to present the judges with a choreographed performance and dance number.

Harmon and Graham did not appear in the same group; Harmon said the group performance was the most intense part of Hollywood Week. Contestants had only about 12 hours to pull everything together, he said.

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“Needless to say, not many people slept for very long that night,” Harmon said.

Graham said he and Harmon spoke during Hollywood Week, even though they performed separately. They talked shortly after Graham’s solo performance at the end of the week, he said.

Both have a musical background rooted in the church. Harmon is a pastor’s kid, and Graham credits seeing his mother singing in church for starting his love of music.

“We both noticed we were from Baltimore,” Graham said. “From that moment, I’m like, ‘Damn, we’ve got to make it together.’”

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