Wading River native Eric Lopez makes ‘American Idol’ cut

Wading River native Eric Lopez made the first cut on 'American Idol.' (Courtesy photo)

Wading River native Eric Lopez made the first cut on ‘American Idol.’ (Courtesy photo)

They share a last name, but pop superstar J-Lo just didn’t think Wading River native Eric Lopez was the right fit for season 14 of “American Idol,” which premiered this week.

“I’m on the fence because I feel like you have a great voice,” the FOX judge told the Manhattanville College tenor after listening to him sing “The Show Must Go On” by Queen. The segment aired Thursday night.

“But I don’t know how that fits in the pop idol, ‘American Idol’ thing,” she continued. “I’m gonna have to say no. I just don’t see how you fit in the competition.”

Luckily for Eric, 20, “American Idol” has three judges. And the other two — Harry Connick Jr. and guest judge Adam Lambert, filling in for Keith Urban — both gave Lopez the coveted “yes” he needed to make it to the show’s next round, dubbed “Hollywood Week.”

“I’m feeling good!” Mr. Lopez, who currently stars as “Nelson” in the off-Broadway production of “The Jackie Mason Musical,” said Friday morning. “When my audition aired my whole phone just blew up.”

A special education and music major, Mr. Lopez said he hopes being a contestant on “Idol” increases his visibility in musical theater.

“I just hope to keep getting better and use the exposure,” he said. “It’s a huge planet. I belong in theater and I hope this exposure will help with that.”

“American Idol” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Watch Eric’s audition here:

ryoung@timesreview.com