Ashley Tankard Makes it to Hollywood on Her 15th Audition for ‘American Idol’

Fifteenth times the charm?

Videos by American Songwriter

During Sunday night’s (Feb. 26) round of American Idol auditions, Durham native Ashley Tankard underwent her 15th audition for the famed competition show. The 22-year-old auditioned for the first time when she was just 15 years old.

Earning a spot on the show has been a part of her bucket list since 2004 when Tankard saw a fellow North Carolina native win season three of the show.

“Oh my gosh, Fantasia,” she said. “That is the first memory I have, one of the first memories I have, watching Fantasia win, and my family just screaming.”

For her appearance Sunday evening, Tankard sang Tate McRae’s “You Broke Me First.” After singing the first few lines, judge Katy Perry advised her to enunciate the lyrics more. Taking the constructive criticism in stride, McRae gave the song another go.

Her second try at the song was more favorable with Perry and fellow judge Lionel Richie applauding and giving her a “yes.” Oppositionally, Luke Bryan voted “no.”

Richie announced after her performance, “You have a ‘yes’ from me, that means one-two-three …” and then the rest of the judges joined in to complete the highly-coveted sentence: “you’re going to Hollywood!”

“This is proof to anybody who wants to give up — do not give up,” Tankard said. “If it takes you two times, if it takes you 15 times, if it takes you 100, it will happen. It happened for me. It literally just happened for me. I’m going to Hollywood!”

The 21st season of American Idol premiered on Feb. 19 on ABC. The audition rounds will continue on for the next few weeks before the real competition gets underway in Hollywood.

Highlights from the premiere episode of Idol included 17-year-old Tyson Venegas earning the first Platinum Ticket of the season (which allows him to sit out on the first round of performances), 21-year-old Michael Williams being dubbed “the next Harry Styles: by Katy Perry, and Zachariah Smith taking on John Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good.”

Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

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