Former 'American Idol' contestant visits Kodiak to help animal shelter

Jackie Wilson, a 2011 American Idol contestant, is in Kodiak to sing at the Kodiak Animal Shelter's second annual Hairball. (Nicole Klauss photo)

A former American Idol contestant is in Kodiak to sing during the Humane Society of Kodiak’s Hair-Ball event on Saturday.

Jackie Wilson was an “American Idol” contestant in 2011 but failed to make the top 24 that year. This is her first visit to Alaska.

While she was on vacation in Mexico earlier this year, a friend of the Kodiak Animal Shelter heard her singing and asked if she’d be willing to help with a benefit.

“I was singing on my vacation, and the next day they called,” Wilson said. “I’ve never been to Alaska, and I was just talking about how I’d love to go.”

Humane Society of Kodiak board member Karen Yashin said this all happened because of Nicholas Mellina, who chaired the Hair-Ball last summer. Mellina is from New Jersey but was in Kodiak as a pilot last summer.

“He was instrumental in getting the first Hair-Ball going,” Yashin said. “We’d been talking about it for three years and knew it would be a lot of work. Nick said he would chair our first Hair-Ball. When he heard we were doing another one, he called us and said, ‘I think I can get this American Idol contestant up here.’”

Wilson has performed at other benefits across the country.

“I do anything whether it’s a benefit or a paid gig, especially if it’s a cause I believe in like this because I love animals,” Wilson said.

When she’s not busy touring the country, she’s singing on the weekends at a blues nightclub and Cajun restaurant in Nashville, Tenn. that she owns with her fiancée.

Wilson will be in Kodiak for a week and hopes to do some bear viewing, whale watching and fishing while she’s in town.

“I want to be able to fish and get some experiences,” Wilson said.

She will be the opening singer at the Hair-Ball on Saturday and will be accompanied by a three-piece band.

Wilson has written around 50 original songs in the last four to six years, and plans to put out an album later this year or early next year. She will be playing some of her own songs at the event.

“I’m going to be singing my original songs,” she said. “I might sing a few covers too.”

Tickets to the Hair-Ball are $25 and can be purchased in advance at the Kodiak Animal Shelter or at the door. Credit cards will be accepted as a form of payment for tickets, donations or the silent auction.

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