Syesha Mercado wowed more than 1,000 of her fans in downtown Bradenton this morning.
She sang part of a song --- "Listen," originally recorded by Beyonce --- and invited students from Daughtrey Elementary School, her alma mater, to join her on the stage set up along the downtown riverfront.
"You guys are beautiful," Mercado said. "Thank you for being here."
And the crowd went wild.
She's touring in a black stretch limousine, accompanied by Manatee County Sheriff's deputies.
Mayor Wayne Poston gave her a key to the city, who gushed, "It doesn't open the vault, but it opens our hearts to you."
Just before 11:30 a.m., Mercado got back into her limo for a ride to the AT&T store -- that's what you get when you're a sponsor -- on Cortez Road, esorted again by sheriff's deputies.
Syesha Mercado, American Idol finalist, is mobbed by fans as she leaves after an appearance in downtown Bradenton.--photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condiefirstname.lastname@example.org:
Syesha Mercado fans get excited as they wait for the American Idol finalist in downtown Bradenton.--photo by Tiffany Tompkins-Condieemail@example.com: