Mark Andrew was at a loss Tuesday afternoon when he realized -- while talking to an inquisitive journalist -- there isn’t a lot that could be asked of him right now. That’s because the one-time contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” back under the thumb of network TV land as a contestant on Fox’s “American Idol.” He’s on the show starting (and probably not ending) with tonight’s episode from this summer’s Minneapolis auditions. All details of his going-ons from here on out are under lock and key until they air on Fox.
“We can talk about… well, not a lot,” he finally admitted with a laugh.
The Eden Prairie-reared, Minneapolis-based rocker -- age 29 and full name Mark Andrew Pudas -- had a brief run on “The Voice” in 2013 after landing on Team Shakira with his soulful version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” One thing he could talk about was how he believes he has an advantage this time around thanks to his prior experience on a TV sing-off.
“It’s still always nerve-racking to get up there [in front of judges], but I think it definitely helps having a little more confidence this time,” he said. “The cameras don’t make you as nervous, and you aren’t as intimidated by the famous people in the room.”
Mark was the second contestant on “The Voice” after Nicholas David who cut his teeth with the White Iron Band, the beloved Twin Cities country-rock group co-led by Mark’s older brother Matt Pudas. He played guitar with them and sang backup for a few years, often taking the lead to sing The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” at gigs. He has been performing on his own as Mark Andrew since his “Voice” stint. That’s in addition to working in his family’s construction business and raising his now 6-month-old son, Hank (all laid out in the profile video posted above). He thinks another TV gig can only further his momentum toward becoming a full-time musician.
“Being on ‘The Voice’ opened a lot of doors for me and got me into playing bigger venues, and I’m ready to keep growing that,” he said.
Mark got into the Minneapolis “Idol” auditions via the back-door using his industry connections and thus didn’t go into them with blind luck. He said he sang two songs for the judges, "both pretty classic." We’ll find out tonight how he fared (7 p.m., Fox, locally at Channel 9 KMSP).