EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - When a fantasy ends, reality hits pretty hard. Just ask East Brunswick's Jax. Last spring she was beginning the season as a contender on American Idol. Her unique interpretation of songs, her trendy look, her boundless energy, and, of course, her famous X tattoo made Jax a hometown hero as well as a national favorite.
There was a parade in town, in which East Brunswick also had its three minutes of fame on national television; visits to her home by TV crews; interviews; photo shoots; rehearsals; and a rocking duet with Aerosmith's Stephen Tyler. Loyal fans from the Bear Den and beyond met in the Brunswick Grove for the final countdown. Sadly, Jax was number three, ending her Idol run. Since then, except for celebrating a raucus opening day at Mancini's Pizza on Route 18, Jax has been MIA.
That is, until this week. Jax has just released a new song and video called La La Land in which she, in the words of Lyndsey Parker on tumblr "throws some serious shade" at American Idol. The release of the video, which also features other Idol contestants, has come at the same time as the beginning of the final season of the contest program.
Fred Bronson quoted Jax in Billboard where Jax told Billboard, “It’s taken a lot for me to come out and talk about it. That’s one reason I wanted a lot of people I love in the video. I don’t want people to think I’m not grateful for the experience. I love all of it and it was the platform of a lifetime and it opened up all these doors for me. It gave me the opportunity to be a household name in the country and that’s huge. I can’t walk anywhere now without being recognized. But at the same time it’s not as glamorous as it looks. People don’t know. There are things I’m sometimes bitter about, about the way things were handled.”
There certainly is not a lot of glamor in the video. Jax is directed and misdirected, handled and mishandled, dressed up and dressed down in a grim set that doesn't look like the dreamland she envisioned at all.
"Everything ain't always what it seems in the la la land of reality," she said.
She doesn't eat, doesn't sleep, and sings on because "America's waiting." There is endless signing of papers and reminders to "show a little more personality"
This is nothing like Demi Lovato's song of the same name. Lovato pledges to remain herself and "still eat at McDonald's" even though she is famous and in the La La Land machine. Jax's words show us that she has been punched pretty hard by that machine. The visual images in the video and the casting of other Idol contestants, along with some friends and supporters from East Brunswick, tell another story. That story is one of growing talent, human connection, and professional persistence.
The song lets people know that Jax is still here, not bitter, just smarter. She reminds her audience, "Don't believe everything you read."