People

‘American Idol’ contestant impressed Jennifer Lopez & co.

Tranea Cannon has some insider information: Jennifer Lopez smells really, really good.

The pop/R&B singer had a chance to meet the American Idol judge while auditioning for the FOX talent show in Kansas City last summer. Season 14 premiered Wednesday night; Cannon’s set airs 8 p.m. Thursday.

“Maybe it was her perfume, I don’t know,” gushed the Coral Springs resident. “Whatever she had on, I wanted a bottle of it!”

Despite being starstruck by a “radiant” J.Lo — as well as the other judges Harry Connick Jr. (“so nice”) and Keith Urban (“he’s cute, kind of heart-throbby”) — Cannon was able to stay calm and focused. Her performance of two covers, What is Love by Janelle Monae and Beyonce’s Work it Out, impressed the panel, received a golden ticketand heads to Hollywood Week in California.

So, any nerves?

“Not really,” says Cannon, who put out an album in 2011 called Swagg on Full. “I sang songs that fit my personality and my spunk. Plus, I’ve had my hands in the pot and have been honing my craft a long time.”

Lucky girl: Cannon was able to get key advice — and a confidence boost — from one of the most famous entertainers in the world.

“Jennifer told me, ‘I don’t want to see a Beyonce, I don’t want to see a Janelle Monae. I want to see a Tranea.’ And that pushed me to a different level and inspired me. Now I just want to embody who I am as an artist and develop my talent and let it blossom. I’m going to do what Tranea wants, no matter what anyone else thinks. If J.Lo wants to see Tranea, I’m pretty sure the world wants to, too.”

But hey, if this whole singing career doesn’t work out, Cannon has a backup plan. Last fall, the 25-year-old graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in molecular cell biology and is a candidate for medical school.

“My father’s a true believer in education,” explains Cannon, who was born in Jacksonville and grew up in Deerfield Beach. “He said, ‘Go for the gusto. Get more bang for your buck. Do a hard major and get that degree so you have something big to fall back on.’ If anything happens to my voice, God forbid, I will.”

But the folks need not worry just yet. Their daughter’s current path seems like the right one.

“My goal is definitely to have a career in music,” says Cannon, who is inspired by Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. “It’s my passion and what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

If she indeed makes it through Idol’s gauntlet, the prize this year is different: Big-time music executive Scott Borchetta has replaced Randy Jackson as mentor, and the winner of the whole shebang will be signed to his label, Big Machine Records. There’s another aspect to the series’ makeover: A smaller commitment. Once the live shows begin in March, AI will kill the consecutive-night thing and scale back to a two-hour show once a week, on Wednesdays.

SNOOKI’S MAN

Newlyweds Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jionni LaValle's marriage is already being put to the test.

In the new issue of In Touch, a 26-year-old woman from —where else? — Fort Lauderdale —named Alexa Waldman claims that LaValle tried to hook up with her.

“We were dancing together and flirting, and then he asked me for my number,” Waldman tells In Touch, adding that she met the New Jersey entrepreneur at a club back in March while LaValle was celebrating his 27th birthday with some buddies.

“Jionni didn’t act like he was getting married,” the corporate sales consultant tells In Touch. “As soon as we left the club, he started texting me, asking me to come back to the boat they were partying on. I didn’t. It was clear he wanted more.”

Snooks doesn’t believe a word, tweeting, “FYI,this BS story intouch is posting is a lie... Lost all respect for that magazine. My man ain’t goin nowhere #shady.”

PRETTY WOMEN

Get up close and somewhat personal with three Miss Universe 2014 contestants from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday at Macy’s Aventura. Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, Miss Universe 2013 Gabriela Isler and Miss Argentina 2014 Valentina Ferrer will be on-site for a meet and greet. The photogenic trio will also model pieces and footwear from Chinese Laundry’s Spring 2015 collection. If you can’t make it, the 63rd annual Miss Universe pageant will air 8 p.m. Jan. 25 on NBC live from Florida International University.

MADELEINE MARR

  Comments