Rocklin High grad Jeremy Crooks appearing on "The Next"

By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondent
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The site that gave Jeremy Crooks instant stardom two years ago has launched his music career to the next level — a spot on CW’s show “The Next.” “I’m getting closer to giving my dream performance,” Crooks said. “Being able to display raw emotion to a crowd and having them connect with that is amazing.” It was Crooks’ YouTube video that caught the eye of the show’s casting director. After a face-to-face interview, he landed a spot as one of four contestants vying for the title, LA competitor. If the Rocklin High alum, now living in Los Angeles, wins the title, he will compete against six other competitors across the nation hoping to win a recording contract with Atlantic Records. Crooks plans to perform Usher’s “DJ Got Us Falling In Love” on “The Next” episode airing on the CW network on Sept. 20. The performance he said, will be “super-energetic,” as he does his best to “pump up” the crowd and have them dancing. “Rocklin was sort of my starting platform for performing in the real world,” he said. “I always wanted people to be in awe after I performed. I wanted that strong stage presence. I knew that if I couldn’t make that happen in my hometown, how would I expect to make it happen anywhere else?” While attending high school, Crooks performed in talent shows, benefit concerts, and sang the national anthem at almost every basketball game and during some lunch time games. He was also a member of the high school choir. Crooks became a local celebrity after appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres show at the end of April and the beginning of May in 2010. When he returned to Rocklin to watch his sister dance in a show at Rocklin High, the crowd asked him to dance on stage. He remembers being told that Rocklin High teachers were generating support for his performances on Ellen DeGeneres’ show and playing his “OMG” video during class, which went viral in April 2010. Within days of being uploaded on YouTube, Crooks’ video reached 200,000 views. Within a week, it reached one million. 2010 also marked the year that Crooks released his debut single, “Faith,” which he wrote. The song, and others that followed, impressed Ben Gordon of Interscope’s A&R. Now Crooks has put his studies at UC Irvine on hold so he can focus on his career as an entertainer. Crooks, who began dancing and singing at age 3, knew he wanted a career in the music industry after seeing videos of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” The singer and songwriter carried his childhood dream with him as he left his neighborhood and Sacramento-area community. At UC Irvine, Crooks shared his YouTube Videos in his dorm room, at the university’s gym and in the campus parking lot. His Irvine fan base developed into a Southern California fan base when he performed at colleges, universities and clubs in different areas. He has since performed at both California Six Flags amusement parks. Crooks said his July performance during Kollaboration LA at the Ford Amphitheater was one of his best performances to date. His style represents a blend of pop, R&B and some “funk.” Crooks said his performance style has been influenced by Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and Usher. His inspiration comes from his personal experiences and philosophical perspectives on love, relationships and life. Crooks would like to thank his family, friends, supporters and, above all, God, for the opportunities that have come his way. He said it has all been a blessing. “The support from my hometown is extremely important to me,” said Crooks. “They’re like my backbone.” ________ "The Next" Who: Jeremy Crooks will perform “DJ Got Us Falling In Love” When: 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 Where: CW Network, channel 31 (U-Verse, DirectTV), channel 12 (Comcast), channel 11 (Wave Broadband)