American Idol XIII – Jena Irene Explains Name Change
Jena Irene came into American Idol XIII as Jena Asciutto. However, much of her personal narrative on the series has been based almost entirely around the fact that everyone keeps pronouncing her first name wrong. Despite being pronounced “Gina,” everyone reads it as “Jenna,” prompting a series of positively adorable corrections.
And yet, as the semifinal “Rush Week” began, Jena had conspicuously become “Jena Irene,” a name change made all the more curious by the fact that I’m not sure anyone on the show ever had trouble pronouncing her last name (please correct me if I’m wrong, but I want to say it’s pronounced “ah-shyoo-toe”. But I’m a terrible linguist despite the Master’s, so I’m probably screwing it up, hence proving her point). Jena is essentially doing what many contestants on The Voice have done, simplifying a complicated name by simply going by her first and middle names only, and ditching the surname altogether.
But why did she ditch her surname?
In an interview with Zap2It after making the Top 13, the singer explained: “Since America can’t really pronounce my first name I don’t really think they’re going to be able to pronounce my last name because that’s a little bit harder.”
She continues, “Especially on Twitter it’s really funny because people hate on how my name’s spelled. They’re like, ‘You should probably stop telling people to pronounce your name right because it’s getting really annoying.'”
The singer, however, addressed those concerns: “I’m like, ‘Well, it’s my name!’ I want people to say it right and it’s not my fault. I didn’t have any say in how my name was going to be spelled. I love my name!”
Hopefully, the name doesn’t become the whole story, particularly when there’s such an incredible talent behind it. Seriously, she’s my favorite female singer in the competition, personally.