Kyle Tanguay and his Eagles cheer squad on the American Idol audition set

We know Kyle Tanguay can dance. He proved that over the past year as the first male Eagles cheerleader in more than three decades. It turns out the 21-year-old University of the Arts senior can sing, too.

Tanguay just scored a “golden ticket” to Hollywood after a stellar “American Idol” audition, one that moved his cheermates to tears.

In a show broadcast Sunday, his his rendition of “Mercy” by Shawn Mendez earned the nod from all three judges, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

“It was just the most fun, jam packed day,” Tanguay told Billy Penn in a phone interview on Monday. He was on his way to teach a hip-hop dance class in Warminster between his own courses. “I was extremely nervous. I’ve never done anything like that before.”

The entire Eagles cheerleading squad accompanied him on the audition, which Tanguay said he didn’t know would be televised. They kicked-off their American Idol moment with a quick #TeamTanguay cheer, and then gifted each judge with a No. 19 Eagles jersey, in honor of the 2019 audition season.

The Washington Square resident follows in the footsteps of two previous “American Idol” hopefuls from Philly: Michael J. Woodard of East Falls and Dennis Lorenzo of West Philadelphia, who both advanced to the top 10 during the 2018 season.

Tanguay took a break from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his favorite song, the cheer squad’s hokey-pokey ritual, and his goal to eventually become a volleyball (!) star.

What’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?

“Physical” by Dua Lipa is my favorite song right now. It’s a little bit out of my range. For the most part, I’ll just put on today’s hits in the shower, and if I hit it, I hit it. And if it sounds bad, no one’s around to tell me.

What did you and your squad do to get hyped up for the audition?

We honestly treated it like it was a game day. Going in, going for the gold, going for the win. We actually did our game day ritual — we do the hokey pokey before every game — which kept me so grounded and really eased my nerves.

Did you have to wait long to audition?

When I left Philadelphia, I think it was 4 in the morning. I was there all day in D.C. I got to see the judges about mid afternoon. Once it was over, I got to go to dinner with the team.

You looked really confident. Were you nervous at all?

I was very nervous [but] as soon as you step in there, it’s just like your mind kind of goes blank. It was very, very nerve wracking. Whether I made it or not, I was just so grateful to be able to be with that team outside of game day or rehearsal.

Are you especially close to that one teammate who was practically sobbing during your tryout?

As a team we are so we are so close. We get emotional for each other all the time. That particular cheerleader, Sav, has the biggest heart.

Who came up with the idea to gift each judge with an Eagles jersey?

All of us as a team came up with that idea. We were like, we have to bring something of that Eagles spirit, whether we make it or not, so they feel like they were a part of an Eagles experience. I was like, if this airs, they have no idea what they’re in for. Eagles fans are gonna be so excited.

Do you have any other hidden talents?

My sister played volleyball, so I’ve always wanted to explore volleyball. They have a league where a bunch of college coaches in our area and players will get together and she’ll invite me, and sometimes I do good. Most times I do not. But I feel like maybe one day I can become a volleyball star.

You graduate in May but that’s when live taping for ‘American Idol’ begins. Will you be there?

Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully it all works out. I have no clue what the future holds. But I’m very excited to begin my journey with “American Idol.”

Layla A. Jones (she/her) was a general assignment reporter for Billy Penn from 2019 to 2021. Her work has helped underserved community organizations, earned free repairs for property owners who sustained...