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An idol in the making?

Is the third time the charm for Aubrey Cleland on American Idol?


Singing is in her blood — along with determination and a strong desire to win.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: FOX - Aubrey ClelandWest Linn’s Aubrey Cleland made it to top 20 contestants on Fox’s “American Idol” and competed again Tuesday evening hoping to earn her way to the top 10. Will Cleland be America’s next idol?

She is hoping the third time is the charm. She’s competed on the show two prior times, making it to Hollywood Week last year, which is the top 40.

The 19-year-old 2011 Jesuit graduate was raised in West Linn and music is no stranger in her family. Her mother, Renee Cleland, is a professional singer and her grandparents have strong musical backgrounds.

“I grew up watching my mom perform and listening to her practice her songs,” Aubrey said in an interview on the “American Idol” website. “I think that really inspired me to be a performer. ... She showed me you really can do whatever you want to do in life.”

Her grandparents, Dale and Rosemary Cleland, are also no strangers to music. Rosemary Cleland majored in trumpet in college and also plays the piano and organ. Dale Cleland was a music instructor in the Lake Oswego schools for 26 years, plays clarinet and saxophone, and is currently the director of the Lake Oswego Millennium Concert Band.

Rosemary Cleland said she first knew Aubrey could sing when she invited her to sing with the choir at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center when she was 8 years old.

“She was right on pitch. She was perfect from the beginning,” Rosemary Cleland said.

As proud grandparents should, Dale and Rosemary Cleland called Aubrey thoughtful, pleasant, courteous, outgoing and social.

Aubrey is currently a student at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., studying communications. She is taking a term off to compete on the show after earning her golden ticket at the Long Beach auditions.

“My first thought when I got my golden ticket was, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m getting this opportunity again after three years,’” she said. “I feel so lucky. ... I feel so blessed to be in front of all these amazing people.”

Aubrey’s mother was raised in West Linn and her father, Thane Cleland, was a Lake Oswego resident and 1982 Lakeridge High School graduate. Her younger brother, Ty Cleland, is a junior at West Linn High School.

Her parents have been flying out to watch her performances.

Aubrey said she was inspired to try out for the show by the hit show’s first winner and pop superstar, Kelly Clarkson.

“She’s been watching ‘American Idol’ since she was 5 or 6 years old,” Dale Cleland said.

Aubrey wowed the judges last week with her performance of Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams.” It was the Sudden Death round where half of the contestants were eliminated.

Judge Keith Urban told Aubrey after her performance that she had a balance of poise and fire.by: FOX - West Linn's Aubrey Cleland wowed the judges last week on 'American Idol,' earning her a spot in the top 20 contestants. Voting results from  the American public will be released tonight.

“I am obsessed with you,” judge Nicki Minaj said. “For the first time, somebody came out here looking like a current artist, sounding like one, feeling like one and you’re gorgeous. ... I was blown away and I felt like I was at your concert.”

While judge Mariah Carey called her “limitless,” judge Randy Jackson said he was a huge fan.

“You are a very great commercial artist,” he said, adding he would sign her to a record deal right now. “I feel like you have the whole, complete package.”

After hearing that she passed to the next round, Aubrey said, “I have faith in myself that I will go all the way to the end and be that last person standing there.”

Aubrey performed again Tuesday night singing Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” This was the first time this season the public had the power to vote and choose their favorite performers.

“This week becomes very important as it will be the first time the outcome will be determined by the general public voting for their favorites, as they cut from 10 to five girls and 10 to five boys,” wrote Rosemary and Dale Cleland in an email to friends and family Monday night. “From now on, the judges have no input into the outcome other than to critique each singer as they perform.”

In a phone interview, Dale and Rosemary Cleland said their granddaughter was excited about performing again.

“It’s something she’s really focused on,” Dale Cleland said, adding that they get regular text updates from Aubrey.

Aubrey impressed the judges yet again with her performance.

Before going on stage, Aubrey told host Ryan Seacrest, “I think I just neet to show my personality and that I want to be here.”

She also said there was a lot of energy performing in front of a live audience. “It’s crazy, and I love it.”

About her performance, Aubrey said, “I think tonight I have to bring my A game, definitely. It’s awesome that America gets to vote for us now and every week someone is going home and I don’t want to be that person.”

After hearing the judges’ responses, it seems she doesn’t have to worry about that this week.

Urban said she looked fantastic and that he loved her vibrato although he wished the song choice would have “allowed you to soar more at the end.”

“You know what I love about you? Your humility,” Minaj told Aubrey. “You’re beautiful, but you don’t put that on at all and so it’s really, really sweet and endearing and keep that. ... I just overall love you.”

Carey said she has “multi platinum” record potential and told her, “You could be someone very big in the industry.”

“There’s still something very current and very infectious about you,” Jackson said. “I’m a huge fan.”

Voting results will air tonight, where the contestants will be slashed in half again to just 10. Making it to the top 10 is critical in that those contestants will all have the chance to tour together this summer. The show will broadcast at 8 p.m. on Fox.

“I think I have strong enough faith in myself that I can get better and better,” Aubrey said. “I think I can succeed in this and make it all the way.”




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