Avalon Young of San Diego sings with past American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard. (AMERICAN IDOL)

Avalon Young of San Diego sings with past American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard. (AMERICAN IDOL)

Thousands have tried over the past 15 years, but no one from San Diego County has ever been crowned the winner of American Idol. Now in season 15, the final Idol season, San Diego’s last chance at the title rests on the talents of a former waitress at Applebee’s in Mira Mesa.

Avalon Young, 21, from Tierrasanta survived a sixth round of cuts Thursday night and made it to the Top 14 as the show winds its way to an April 7 finale.

“That puts a lot of pressure on me, doesn’t it?” Young said with a laugh when informed she had a chance to do something even Jessica Sanchez and Adam Lambert (both were runnersup) couldn’t do. During the show’s run only four San Diegans have made it to the Top 10.

This week, the Top 24, which included El Cajon’s Stephany Negrete who was cut, were divided into two groups of 12, one group performed this week, the second dozen will go next week. Following solo performances Wednesday and duets the following night, five contestants were cut Thursday. Using the same format, five more will be eliminated next Thursday bringing the remaining total to 14. Approximately 75,000 tried out initially at sites around the country last summer. Young’s first audition was at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.

Holding a skateboard and admitting “I’m not a girlie-girl” in a taped introduction, Young sang Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” in a Wednesday performance.

“That was a really strong performance,” Idol judge Harry Connick, Jr. said.

“You had the audience in the palm of your hand,” added fellow judge Jennifer Lopez. “You picked the perfect song.”

Young tried out for the show one other time when she was 17 and a student at Serra High.

“I didn’t make the cattle call (initial audition) then,” she said. “I guess I’ve improved a lot.”

Making it through the cut to the final 14 were La’Porsha Renae, Sonika Vaid, Gianna Isabella, Thomas Stringfellow, MacKenzie Bourg, Jeneve Rose Mitchell and Young.

The five cuts were James VIII, Jordan Sasser, Emily Brooke, Jenna Renae and Negrete.


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