Shi Scott, 19, a former resident of Belcamp who lives in Gaithersburg, is keeping her fingers crossed she got enough votes from her most recent "American Idol" performance to move on to the next round of the popular television singing competition.
"They've changed so much from past seasons, and the level of talent is just something else this year," Scott said by phone from Detroit Monday in the midst of rehearsals for the remaining contestants.. "It's crazy to be a part of."
Scott and her 11 female competitors will learn who the top eight vote-getters were during a live episode scheduled to air Thursday on Fox. The top eight male vote-getters will be revealed Wednesday.
"We find out [the winners] at the same time as America does," she said, noting the contestants' on-air reactions are "completely genuine."
Scott belted out a rendition of Rihanna's "Umbrella" from the stage of The Fillmore Detroit in front of a live audience during last Thursday's most recent episode of "American Idol."
She was among the Top 12 girls left in the competition who performed before judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez.
The episode, which was pre-recorded, was the first in this season in which viewers could cast their votes for contestants.
Viewers could cast their votes for Scott by phone, text or online. With up to 20 votes allowed per contestant from a single voter.
The judges praised Scott's overall singing ability during the episode, but noted her song choice did not best suit her talents.
"I don't think they got the best of you, which makes me upset, because you are an amazing singer," Lopez told Scott. "If they can feel you the way we felt you tonight, you should go on, for sure."
Scott said after she performed that the past week had been "a lot."
"I think I did the best that I could," she said on television. "I think I'm still learning, and I want to stay!"
Members of Scott's family, including her parents, sister, grandparents and uncle, as well as her boyfriend, have been part of the audience during recent episodes as the contestants performed in front of live audiences in Los Angeles and Detroit.
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"It's so comforting, because I know whatever happens on the stage I'll be fine because I'll be able to go to them afterward and hug them," she said Monday.
Scott said she needed their support, especially after her performance during last Thursday's episode.
She said she chooses songs "based on the feeling that they have" and whether they support either her jazz or rock singing styles.
"I have a jazz-tone voice, but I lean toward signing more rock-type stuff," she explained.
Scott said she chose an Etta James selection for an earlier performance "solely based on the feeling and supporting my jazz tone."
Contestants have been performing with a band backing them up in front of the live audiences, and each singer spends about a week before with vocal coaching and band rehearsals.
"By the time you get to the stage, you feel seasoned with your song and the band," Scott said.