Casey Bishop of ‘American Idol’ rocks Fort Myers: ‘This is the best night of my life!’

“I can’t even believe this!” Casey Bishop said at one point during Saturday’s…

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“American Idol” semifinalist Casey Bishop performs first ever hometown concert

“American Idol” semifinalist Casey Bishop performs first ever hometown concert

Ricardo Rolón, Fort Myers News-Press

Casey Bishop has had lots of great nights recently: Performing with country star Luke Bryan. Getting singing tips from Incubus and Coldplay. And making it all the way to the Top 4 on “American Idol.”

But Saturday night in Fort Myers?

That might just have topped them all.

More than 750 people showed up in the Buddha LIVE parking lot to see Bishop perform her first-ever hometown concert. It was a bigger audience than she ever saw in “Idol’s” socially distanced theater.

Bishop, 16, laughed with delight and grinned out into the cheering crowd between songs.

“I can’t even believe this!” she said at one point during Saturday’s concert. “Thank you all so much for coming! Wow.”

Her 40-minute show was packed with songs she’d performed on “American Idol”: Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” The jazz standard “My Funny Valentine.” Alanis Morissettes’s “Ironic.” Her pop single “Love Me, Leave Me.” And lots more.

The crowd responded enthusiastically. They hooted and hollered. They cheered. They clapped. They danced. And every once in awhile, someone shouted “We love you Casey!” or “You should’ve won!”

After the show, Bishop still had a smile on her face as she signed autographs and posed for photos with a handful of fans.

“How do I feel?” she answered when a reporter asked the question. “It was the best night of my life! It was amazing.”

The concert followed three months of competition on “American Idol.” The Estero teen made it into the show’s Top 4 singers, but then she was voted off May 16. Country singer Chayce Beckham eventually took the top prize.

Fans and friends showed up Saturday to see the “Idol” star and hear her powerful rock ‘n’ roll voice in real life — not just on their TV and mobile screens. 

“It’s just so nice to see a hometown hero,” said Maria Bahruth of Fort Myers. “She rose to the top and she’s phenomenal. … We’re just excited to be here!”

Masha Beach, 18, of Fort Myers hoped to meet Bishop and perhaps get an interview for her magazine. She’s a huge “Idol” fan who’s watched every year since she was a little girl, she said.

It was exciting to see someone from Southwest Florida compete on the show, she said. And to do it with mostly rock ‘n’ roll songs, too.

“I saw her perform (on “Idol”), and I said ‘Wow, she’s good!’” Beach said. “I really, really love rock. And to see someone that young try to bring rock back, that’s crazy.”

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Bishop took the parking-lot stage at about 9 p.m. Saturday wearing black jeans and a green tank top. Backed by an acoustic guitarist and a percussionist, she mostly sang perched on a stool, but she occasionally jumped up to dance, sway to the music and pump her first in the air.

Her waist-length brown hair often blew in the breeze as she was bathed in colored stage lights and clouds of smoke from a smoke machine.

In all, she sang 10 songs for the energized crowd, including “My Funny Valentine” (one of two songs she sang for her “Idol” audition in February), the American standard “House of the Rising Sun,” Paramore’s hard-rocking “Decode,” Billie Eilish’s “wish you were gay” and Sublime’s laid-back “Santeria” (complete with the audience singing along).

The crowd cheered and clapped after each song. And Bishop responded with sometimes nervous, sometimes delighted laughter.

“I can’t even believe this!” she said after performing the peppy Amy Winehouse tune  “Valerie.” “This is my very first show, other than ‘Idol!’”

Then later: “This is nuts!”

Finally, it was time for the last song of the night: Morissette’s “Ironic.” And Bishop had some parting words for her first concert audience in Southwest Florida.

“I just want to thank you all so much for coming out,” Bishop said. “This is, like, the best night of my life. This is amazing!”

The audience, no doubt, felt the same way.

Mia Vitale, 22, had driven up from Naples to see Bishop perform. She didn’t really care what Bishop sang. She just wanted to see Bishop rock out in real life.

“She’s a really great singer,” Vitale said. “So anything she sings will be good.”

For Kelsey Hoolihan of Fort Myers, Saturday’s show was more than just a concert. It offered her hope, too.

Hoolihan, 18, dreams of one day performing on “American Idol.” And Bishop proves it can be done.

“To see someone make it from our hometown, it seems like it’s actually possible,” she said. “And that’s what’s so cool about it.”

Here’s the full setlist from Saturday’s concert:

  • “My Funny Valentine” (jazz standard)
  • “Valerie” (Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse)
  • “Decode” (Paramore)
  • “Love Me, Leave Me” (Casey Bishop)
  • “Black Hole Sun” (Soundgarden)
  • “wish you were gay” (Billie Eilish)
  • “House of the Rising Sun” (folk standard)
  • “Wish You Were Here” (Incubus)
  • “Santeria” (Sublime)
  • “Ironic” (Alanis Morissette)

Connect with this reporter: Email or connect on social media at Charles Runnells (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter) and @crunnells1 (Instagram).

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