Contestant pool is slashed from 20 to just 10

by: FOX - Hometown favorite Aubrey Cleland did not make it to the top 10 on American Idol despite earning consistent rave reviews from the judges.Fighting against some tough competition, West Linn’s Aubrey Cleland did not advance to the top 10 on Fox’s “American Idol.”

With nearly 39 million votes cast last week, Cleland did not capture enough of them to remain as one of five girls on the show.

This is the end of the line for Cleland’s “Idol” dreams. According to show rules, she cannot audition again next year because she made it into the top 20. However, she still has a chance to perform as part of a tour this summer if she wins the sing-off this week.

The show was set to hold a sing-off between the sixth-place runners-up boy and girl for the 11th spot on the summer tour. The show hadn’t yet announced who was in sixth place.

Cleland had continued to impress judges from her audition in Long Beach, Calif., up through her performance March 5.

This was her third time on the show. The 19-year-old 2011 Jesuit High School 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.

Her grandparents are Dale and Rosemary Cleland, of Lake Oswego. Rosemary Cleland majored in trumpet in college and also plays the piano and organ. Dale Cleland was a music instructor in Lake Oswego schools for 26 years, plays clarinet and saxophone, and is currently the director of the Lake Oswego Millennium Concert Band.

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.

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

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

Two weeks ago Aubrey sang Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” with rave reviews from the judges and then continued earning high praise from the judges last week with Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

The judges called her a “current artist” who had “multiplatinum” record potential.

The results show, which aired March 7, started with a look back at the 20 contestants earning their golden tickets. The contestants were then kept in soundproof rooms. The boys were in one room and the girls in another. Then, one by one, the winners were escorted to the stage for a victory song.

For the girls, the first one through was Janelle Arthur of Charlotte, N.C., who is also on the show for her third time. Next was Candace Glover, also of Charlotte, N.C., and then Angie Miller of New York. Amber Holcomb of Baton Rouge, La., took the fourth slot. The final spot for the girls went to Kree Harrison of Oklahoma City.

Aubrey’s parents were in the audience once again on that fateful night supporting her as they have been all season. Her mother said she was not particularly nervous about Aubrey’s performances, but more so about what the judges’ reactions would be.

“I felt really positive of all the performances,” Renee Cleland said. “I think (the judges) helped her go farther.”

Regardless of whether Aubrey makes it on tour with “American Idol,” her mother said, Aubrey still gained a lot of exposure and recognition during her time on the show. Aubrey’s performance on the “American Idol” sudden death round on YouTube has more than 121,000 views.

Renee Cleland said she is proud of her daughter and how far she advanced over the last three years, going from top 100 to the top 40 to the top 20.

Though Aubrey is still restricted by Fox from interviews, she tweeted, “Thanks for all your words of encouragement guys, this is a sad night, but I’m so glad to have had this amazing experience with idol.”

Facebook and Twitter lit up with shock and dismay that Aubrey did not make it to the top 10.

“Shocked is all I can say. I picked you and Angie and Kree as the frontrunners. Don’t know what the people are thinking! Hang in there ... you will have a career,” Bonnie Hendrickson said on Facebook.

Chris Bryan wrote, “America got it wrong: u r awesome!!!”

Kathy Donahue wrote, “I’m so sorry ... You will be a Big Star ... just keep following your dreams. Randy told you several times, that you could already get a contract easy enough. So take his advice and DO IT!!!! You have an amazing voice and wonderful stage presence! Stay Positive and use this experience to the fullest!”

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