ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Marvin Jones Jr. spent his bye week doing something he always thought about doing but hadn’t yet – trying out for American Idol.
The Detroit Lions receiver went to the Nashville auditions for the rebooted show – it’ll premiere on March 11 on ABC – and went in for an audition with Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan. For the audition, a feature about it will be shown on ESPN on Sunday, Jones was No. 40025.
Jones wouldn’t say Wednesday what he sang for the judges – or what happens during the audition. That, he said, would have to wait for NFL Countdown on Sunday morning. Jones has been singing, though, since choir when he was a child in California.
“It was just a good opportunity,” Jones said. “Usually, it’s funny because I’ve been in the league six years and there’s still people who don’t know I can sing. I’ve never really put myself out there like that, just when people were nagging me to do it.
“Just a change. Just something I thought it would be a cool experience before I get too old.”
Jones, 27, who prefers old school R&B music, has been recording his own songs for years, but has released none of them. One, a track titled “Count It Up,” was played twice during preseason game warmups at Ford Field. Jones didn’t tell anyone about it, though, and if you didn’t know it was him beforehand, you wouldn’t have known the song he describes as “kind of like a Detroit anthem type thing” was him.
One day, he said, he might release his catalog on iTunes and make a run at a music career. He has been working on his music inside his own house. When he bought a home in suburban Detroit after signing with the Lions, he had a music studio built in his basement. It was finished about a year ago.
And when he goes down there intermittently, he’ll get lost in his passion away from work.
“Sometimes if I do go, I’ll be down there for a long time,” Jones said. “I’ll do some stuff and I’ll look up and it’s like 11 o’clock. I’m like, ‘Dang, I’ve been here for six hours.’ There’s times I don’t go down there for three weeks.
“But just the luxury of going down there whenever I want to, I do it.”
Jones said he didn’t know if his audition would be shown on "American Idol" when it reboots this spring. He said he has no ultimate goal with singing – it’s mostly for his own pleasure now. He has had Lions practice squad receiver/rapper Dontez Ford in his studio for recording sessions -- but you never know what’ll happen in the future.
He has shown off his pipes before "American Idol." Jones sang on an episode of "Beyond the Stripes" when he was in Cincinnati -- and at the end of that clip one of the hosts wondered openly if "American Idol" was in his future. Turns out, it was. There's a decent amount of YouTube videos of him singing if you want to find them, and he has posted some quick hits on Instagram, too.
This, though, is a different level.
“It’s something I’ve been doing since I’ve been very, very young,” Jones said. “It’s just good to go down there and zone out and sing or do whatever. Somebody’s down there, I’ll record them. It’s fun.”
Don't, though, expect Jones to give up his day job as a Lions wide receiver, where he has caught 33 passes for 515 yards so far this season -- on pace for career highs in receptions and yards.