‘This is just the beginning’: What’s next for local American Idol contestant


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Joshua Ward, a Wilmington teen, had to live with a secret for more than two months. For weeks he could not tell his friends and loved ones that his golden ticket to Hollywood did not get him very far.

But Ward is not letting this defeat keep him down.

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The 16-year-old Ashley High School sophomore was featured briefly on last night’s episode of “American Idol.” His clips showed a range of emotions beginning with the thrill of being in Hollywood.

“This is gonna be the most amazing week of my life. This is so exciting!” a smiling Ward told the camera. “This is it. This is the dream, and it’s coming true now.”

But moments later, after a brief shot of Ward, who a graphic mistakenly said was from “Williamton, NC,” on stage in front of judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, Ward was part of a montage of heartbroken contestants who learned they were going home and would not advance.

So now that the secret is out, WWAY caught up with Ward Tuesday.

“My heart sank. I was like here it is it’s coming to an end. It’s over, the dream is over,” Ward said. “At the time I was crushed and I couldn’t tell a soul.”

Ward beat thousands of hopefuls across the country for a golden ticket to Hollywood to compete on “American Idol.”

“One of 169 out of thousands that tried out,” Ward said. “That’s, that’s within itself that’s a blessing.”

His talent is undeniable, but it was not enough to win over the star judges during Hollywood week.

“I honestly really thought that it went well,” Ward said.

Joshua said it was hard seeing himself get so upset on TV the moment he got the news.

“As I stood in that room, in that confessional room crying as y’all saw last night. I knew I was like, ‘Man, this sucks’ but it’s not the end I’m coming back. I’m not done,” Ward said. “I’m not going to let this knock me down, I’m getting back up again.”

However, being sent home did not quite break his spirit.

“This is just the beginning,” Ward said. “This was like, it’s just a stepping stone in God’s major plan for my life. He’s given me a gift. And this was the first part. It’s one little piece.”

It is an experience that Joshua will never forget.

“That within itself is a journey that I will always remember and will be in a special place in my heart. Because it was my dream,” Ward said.

Joshua said he plans to keep fighting for his dream to become a star.

“I can do this. They liked me and just because I got one no now doesn’t mean I won’t get a yes later,” Ward said. “I’m not gonna give up at all. I’m gonna be back next year. I promise.”

As for now Joshua plans to continue singing and perfecting his talent. He is also preparing for his school’s upcoming football season. On Sundays he will be singing with his parents at his church, Impact Church.

Ward will take his passion to the Azalea Festival Parade in downtown Wilmington on Saturday, April 14. He is scheduled to sing the National Anthem.

“American Idol” airs Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. on WWAY ABC.