Hometown: Cape Cod, Mass.
Resides: Marston Mills, Mass.
Audition: Love of My Life, Queen
First Hollywood solo: A Woman’s Worth, Alicia Keys
Hollywood group song: Bad Romance, Lady Gaga
Second Hollywood solo: Living for the City, Stevie Wonder
Musical influences: “Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday. A lot of older, standout singers have been the biggest influence on my voice and the way I approach singing. … I adore Courtney Love. And not even just her voice but her in-your-face, ‘I don’t care what you think about me because I’m me’ presence.”
First music purchased: “When I was in the first grade, the first tape that was mine was the MMMBop single by Hanson. I still adore them wholeheartedly. I am the biggest Hanson fan. I’ve seen them four times. I cried every time.”
Theme night she’d enjoy: “Maybe a jazz theme or big-band.”
Theme she’d be anxious about: “Maybe country. I’ve never really done that. I think I could do it if I had to, but it’s not my favorite.”
Song you’d love to sing but isn’t a good fit: “I thought about doing My Way by Frank Sinatra because it’s my grandfather’s favorite song. I just feel it’s a song Simon would say, ‘That was indulgent,’ because it’s a song you’re supposed to sing when you’re an accomplished performer.”
Best judge’s compliment: “Simon referred to me as a possible dark horse in the competition, meaning that I came out of nowhere and surprised them. To me, that means I’ve improved already.”
Criticism she needed to hear: “In the first round of Hollywood Week, they said I’m too serious and act too old for my age. As much as it is important for me to remain composed and be mature, I can’t forget I should be having fun.”
Most proud of: “Who I am right now, because I’ve been through a lot of hard things where a lot of people take situations like that and turn it into ‘That’s my excuse to give up.’ … I’ve been able to make that a reason to try harder and to not become a victim. … I had to grow up really fast, and I’ve had to take care of my little sisters a lot and be like half-sister/half-parent to them. That alone has made me mature a lot more than any other thing I’ve been through.”
Why should she be the next Idol? “It’s really important for me to be able to show other young people (that) if you’re not happy with your situation then you can change, and it’s in all of us to be able to work that hard to reach our goals.”