The decision for John Long is a difficult one, but one he must soon make.
Long, a December graduate of Lee’s Summit West High School, faces a dilemma as he prepares for the next chapter of young adulthood. The quandary is a good one to have for the 18-year-old Christian singer/guitarist.
On Aug. 25, Long will compete as one of 10 finalists in the “American Idol”-style KC SuperStar competition at 7 p.m. in Yardley Hall on the campus of Johnson County (Kan.) Community College. Long is also scheduled to leave that day for Evangel University, a private Christian liberal arts school in Springfield.
“The final(s) is the day of move-in,” Long said June 10 in a telephone interview with the Journal. “I might be missing that at school. I’ll call the school and figure that out.”
Asked if he had a choice to stay in town for the competition or head off to college for the first official day to move onto campus, which would he chose, Long answered: “KC SuperStars.”
Long qualified for the finals of KC SuperStar for his rendition of “I Will Not Be Silent.” He joined nine others, who were chosen from 22 semi-finalists June 3 by a three-judge panel in White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas. The original field consisted of more than 200 student competitors.
The winner of the contest receives a $7,500 scholarship, while second place receives a $2,500 scholarship and third place is good for a $1,500 scholarship award. Fourth place will receive a $1,000 scholarship, and the additional contestants will receive a $500 scholarship each.
Before competing for the title of KC Superstar 2013, Long auditioned for American Idol last fall in Oklahoma City and made the list of talent that performed in front of celebrity judges including Randy Jackson and Keith Urban
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” Long said of making the finals of the local competition. “It was a good feeling. Everyone was a great musician. There was so much good talent. I was a little surprised that some of them didn’t make it. I was very fortunate to make it and I’m blessed. I’m very happy and satisfied.”
Long plans to study business and music while at Evangel. His calling may be in music, or it may even be in ministry. Currently he leads worship for a college-age youth group at World Revival Church on View High Drive in Kansas City, not too far from the city limits of Lee’s Summit.
“I’ve been leading worship for about four years,” he said. “I’ve just moved up to young adults, so now I’m leading college-aged kids. Back in freshman year of high school they were looking for worship leaders and I didn’t even put my name down. My name was put down for me. I don’t even know how it got there. I showed up, and they put me as a worship leader for all fours years.
“It completely changed my life. I didn’t really want to do it at first, but when I started doing it, it was something that I knew I was supposed to do. Basically, how I live, is I’m always being watched somewhere. So, everything I do, I’m trying to be an example for everyone – even older people and younger people. Everyone. I’m a light to a lot of people. Bad light or a good light, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got to be on my game wherever I go.”