NORTH FORK, NY — Friends and loved ones were bursting with excitement Monday night after Christian Patrick Padavan, 20, of Hampton Bays wowed the judges and won the golden ticket on “American Idol” — he’s headed to Hollywood!
And he’s not the only one: Jackson Gillies, 19, who has North Fork roots also sailed through his audition and will advance to the next round.
Christiaan, a 2017 graduate of Hampton Bays High School, said ever since he was a child, music has been what he’s been called to do.
When the judges greeted him, Christiaan said, “I feel like I’m in a dream. I’m from Hampton Bays, Long Island, NY.”
“Is that like, the Hamptons?” Bryan asked.
“You hear about Southampton but Hampton Bays is the one that you don’t really hear about,” Christiaan said.
“Do rich ladies load it up on wine and try to hit on you?” Bryan asked.
“That’s the Hamptons in a nutshell right there,” Christiaan joked.
Padavan brought his parents and his girlfriend; the judges also brought her out for a duet. “She’s going to kill me,” Padavan said, explaining that his girlfriend, while very talented, is shy.
Padavan performed “Vienna” by Billy Joel to “represent Long Island.” He wowed the judges and also took home the gold.
“We just knew when you opened your mouth that you were going,” Perry said. She also asked him to sing “Theme from New York, New York,” because he has a “crooner voice.”
Padavan said he was “speechless. New York’s going to Hollywood, baby.”
Christiaan’s mom Susan Padavan said she and his dad “and I are so proud and excited for him. We have always known his talent. When he was only seven years old I worked on Shelter Island and he would go to summer camp on the island. Every day during our commute from Hampton Bays we listened and sang the entire score of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ together. In fact my profile picture is us all in front of the marquee of the show from that year. And years before that it was the theme song from ‘Titanic.’ Big songs for a little kid.” She laughed. “I know I could share more stories but last night was the icing on the cake!”
She added: “I had always told him to share his God-given talent and he has, over the years, volunteered and sang at our church, hospitals, adult centers, festivals, etc. Last night he shared his talents with the biggest audience yet and I couldn’t be prouder of my son.”
A crowd gathered at the Knights of Columbus in Hampton Bays to watch the show air. “It was a wonderful evening of about 50 close friends and family who have all touched his life — and to have everyone cheer, applaud and share in his moment will never be forgotten,” she said.
Today, she said, Christiaan is writing songs and “making money doing something he loves.” Locally, he can be seen singing at restaurants in the area including One North Steakhouse, Cowfish, Rumba, Rhum, and Dune Deck.
“I’ve been interested in music ever since I can remember,” Padavan told Patch. “My parents used to check on me in the backseat of the car before I could talk and I’d respond to them by humming. I learned how to sing ‘Born to be Wild’ when I was like, 3 years old. I went to a Catholic school where every Christmas, every student was required to be in the show. I was handed my first solo, the crowd went wild and I’ve been hooked ever since — performing in junior theater shows, taking vocal lessons, and auditioning for any show I could. “
Some of his greatest musical influences, Padavan said, come from Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and many more.
One of Padavan’s greatest accomplishments so far has been winning Dunkin’ and iHeartRadio’s 2018 “Cold Brew Jams” contest, “where a couple buds and I won $10,000 studio time. Another accomplishment was playing a private VIP party for Dunkin’s promotion with NY Giant Saquon Barkley.”
In the future, Padavan said he plans to work for iHeartRadio or a record label as he continues making his own music and performing in shows.
“Hopefully someone will catch notice of the name ‘Christiaan Padavan,'” he said.
But no how far from the East End his talent takes him, Padavan said he will always thank Hampton Bays High School for his beginning.
“Hampton Bays High School gave me a strong foundation for pursuing my dreams because they were always supportive of my gift,” he said. “From singing in show choir to winning a Teeny Award for ‘Best Actor in a Musical’ my senior year — they always pushed me to be the best I could be.”
Reflecting on the “Idol” experience, Padavan said he auditioned in Manhattan and sang “Vienna” by Billy Joel. “Meeting the judges didn’t feel real the entire time. I was a little nervous going in but once you go in, you truly see that they’re regular people just like you and I,” he said.
Of the hometown support, he said, “My entire town has been so supportive of me and I can’t be thankful enough.”
Jackson Gillies Makes North Fork Proud
Jackson, 19, discussed, with the “Idol” judges, his battle with Type I Diabetes and HS, or Hidradenitis Suppurativa, which caused eight or nine abscesses on both of his legs when he was younger. “I had no idea what they were but I knew it wasn’t diabetes. . . It’s an autoimmune condition and there’s no cure. It makes the diabetes kind of look like a joke and the scars are absolutely permanent,” he said.
When he first got diagnosed, Jackson said, “I didn’t walk for around two months. The abscesses on my legs were just too painful . The thing that really brought me through it was music. I learned how to play the guitar and it was an amazing physical thing that I had control over. I am simply not me without music. It’s how I bring out all my pain and show people who I am. I sometimes have moments where I think, ‘Why me?’ but I don’t let it stop me. I just become so much stronger through it.'”
His mother Connie said: “I am so proud of you for everything you’ve been through and never complained about it. Whatever happens, I’ll never stop being proud of you.”
The “American Idol” audition, Jackson said, “could be life-changing. I am so ready for this moment and to show the world who I am.”
Judge Katy Perry, who Jackson said he’d met briefly before, said, “I’m so glad we meet again. I’m happy that my path has crossed again with yours.”
Jackson then sang “Make It Rain” by Foy Vance.
Judge Luke Bryan said the performance was “very, very good. I’m just very happy for you, very amazed with all your struggles, all of your hurdles, and then, to be so talented and so blessed in the vocal singing category is amazing. Great job.”
Judge Lionel Richie was visibly moved. “Every once in awhile God sends reminders to all of us. I had a couple of things that bothered me this morning when I woke up. I’m going to go to bed now tonight . . . and I don’t have a care in the world, because of how you are looking at your life, the positive approach that your taking — that’s an example for all of us.”
Perry said she normally bonds with people from Santa Barbara over food. “Now Im just bonding with you over your story and your music and I’m really proud of you. I want to tell you that there are a lot of male singers that can sing really good in this competition so I want you to really dig in every time and make me proud and make our hometown proud.”
Jackson, contestant #805, was the last of all the contestants to audition for the new season. He received three resounding “yes” votes from the judges. “You’re going to Hollywood,” Perry cheered.
On social media, he wrote: “Wow. Just, wow. I am beyond moved by all of your messages and words, and the love you are sending my way. I am so unbelievably proud to be a part of this show, and to share a global stage with so many talented, loving, beautiful people. Thank you all so much! We’re going to Hollywood!”
“This ticket is one step closer to my dream,” Jackson said. “After all that I’ve been through it’s amazing to hear the judges acknowledge me like that. I’m so ready for Hollywood week.”
(AMERICAN IDOL Coverage/ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
Jackson, a talented vocalist who has seen a steady ascent to stardom despite daunting physical challenges, won the Santa Barbara Teen Star USA competition in 2016 – and recently debuted his single and music video, “Miss Me Too.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of Jackson,” his mom Connie Gillies said. “He doesn’t let anything stop him and has overcome so many obstacles and a boatload of pain and keeps on working. He gives 150%, including his TEDx talk on HS,” — Hidradenitis Suppurativa, which Jackson has — “which now has 75,000 views and has helped so many. Or his co-producing and co-musically directing the ‘Teens Sing for Santa Barbara Unity Shoppe Disaster Services Concert,’ which, with Kenny Loggins’ guidance and vision, raised $70,000 for the Montecito mudslide and Thomas fire survivors last year.”
Reflecting on her son, who is also diabetic, Gillies said: “We are constantly amazed by him. He wears an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor and just the care and maintenance of Type 1 diabetes is enough — and then to add HS, and five surgeries and not being able to ever grab a bite to eat at a restaurant or eat any prepared food, always having to plan ahead and cook at home and bring food . . . . It’s a lot, but he does it. His goal is to be a pop star and we applaud and support his efforts in any way we can.”
Not only does her son shine on stage, Gillies said, but he is a beacon of hope to others struggling with physical challenges. “He is inspiring the HS community of about 230 million people to come out of the shadows, if their comfort level permits, and go for their dreams — to let nothing stop them.”
Reflecting on his new single, Gillies describes the song that already has North Fork friends raving on social media.
“I’m really, really happy with it,” he said. “I started writing it sitting on my couch at home, thinking about my last relationship. I had broken up with this girl a few months ago, and it was a situation where there was no chance of getting back together. There were still some feelings there, so the song is sort of a question of ‘Do you still miss me? I know we can’t be together, but I want to know if the love is still there.'”
The song was recorded at Brotheryn Studio C in Ojai, CA, Gillies said, adding that his engineer, co-writer and co-producer was Jesse Siebenberg, and Ryan Slattery co-directed the video.
He and Siebenberg, he said, “met through mutual musician friends in Santa Barbara, and immediately hit it off. Jesse recently played Pedal Steel for a hefty number of tracks on the ‘Star Is Born’ soundtrack and co-wrote some of the songs with Bradley Cooper and Lukas Nelson. Needless to say, I’m a lucky guy to be working with him,” he said. “Since this is my first single, it’s my first indelible sonic footprint on the world of music,” he said. “That footprint is relatively small now, but it will be interesting to look back at it in 10 years.”
Despite his young age, Gillies has scaled many hurdles, battling a number of health challenges; he was diagnosed at three years old with Type 1 diabetes and lives with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. HS is related to leaky gut, and toxins leaking out of the gut try to escape the body via lymph glands creating painful cysts, he said.
Nothing, however, has kept him from reaching for his own personal stars. “The mentality I keep when facing pain or struggle is that complaining won’t do anything for me. We’re all dealt with different hands and each one has its flaws; we have to power through if we can and reach for our goals. My advice is to remember it could always be worse, and always be thankful for the moment you’re in,” he said.
Perhaps one of Gillies’ most exciting moments came recently when he auditioned for “American Idol. “I do look forward to watching myself perform because I don’t remember a whole lot; I was just too excited. Look out for the Los Angeles auditions.”
Gillies, who lives in Santa Barbara, CA and attends Santa Barbara City College, is fully immersed in music. “I’m currently writing as many songs as I can, and fueling my songs with experience. Honesty is the best tool you can use to reach other people. I’ll be releasing songs and music videos regularly, and hopefully won’t stop for a very long time,” he said.
He strives to become a successful songwriter and performer and to share his gift with the world. “I want to make music until the day I die,” he said.
In performing, Gillies has found the wings to soar above his physical challenges. “It is freeing to be able to perform and not feel constrained by my conditions. My physical struggles are put aside once I step on the stage,” he said.
Photo courtesy AMERICAN IDOL-Coverage. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal). JACKSON GILLIES. © 2019 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Photo: AMERICAN IDOL – Coverage. (ABC/Nicole Rivelli), CHRISTIAAN PADAVAN, © 2019 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.