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Allison Iraheta talks about making 'American Idol's Top 12 finals


By Christopher Rocchio, 03/02/2009 

Allison Iraheta said she was "nervous" to perform for the first time as an American Idol eighth-season semifinalist, however she added winning a Telemundo singing competition two years ago "most definitely" helped her confidence.

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"I was fourteen.  It was a great experience.  I sang both Spanish and English.  It was amazing to win, you know; it was awesome," Iraheta told reporters during a Friday afternoon conference call.

"It helped me out with being on the stage in front of cameras a little, but it's nothing compared to this actually."

The 16-year-old from Downey, CA advanced to the Top 12 finals along with Adam Lambert and Kris Allen after the three received the most home viewer votes for their performances during Wednesday night's broadcast of the season's second semifinals group.

Iraheta performed Heart's "Alone" on Wednesday night, a song previously tackled by Idol contestants including fourth-season champ Carrie Underwood.

"I just really love the song 'Alone,' and I love the band Heart.  I had already thought about it beforehand that I really wanted to do that song, so I guess it helped me out," she told reporters.

"I mean I did think about the fact that Carrie did it and the past Idols; they really did that song and they did it really well.  They're amazing.  But I really focused on me and how I would just do the song and just, yes, I guess give it a little taste of what I can do.  Like not change it, because you know we're different, so just give it a little of me in the song I guess."

Following the performance, Idol judge Paula Abdul said Iraheta had a "very Kelly Clarkson sound."

"I have to take that compliment, you know, because that's a big one, you know, because it's Kelly Clarkson," said Iraheta. "She's amazing and I really admire her a lot, so I thought that was pretty great."

While Simon Cowell was equally impressed by Iraheta's singing, he noted she was "boring" during her pre-performance interview with host Ryan Seacrest.

"[Cowell] doesn't know me enough, I guess, because he said I was boring.  But honesty, I'm not," Iraheta told reporters.  "I guess I was nervous a little; I mean who isn't going to be nervous before they sing the first time for that round.  So I guess I'll just chill a little bit more, because the nerves got me a little."

Iraheta added she already knows how to fix Cowell's criticism before she performs as a finalist.

"I think I'll just chill a little more, relax," she said.  "I think I'm just going to relax more and just relax.  Because that was my problem, I was just like a little nervous."

Iraheta is the youngest eighth-season semifinalist, however she told reporters age is just a number when it comes to competing on Idol.

"I think it doesn't matter what the age is of how I'm the youngest or whatever, because I think really all it comes down to is the same thing -- we're all here for the same thing and it depends on how much we want it and how much we prepare," she said.  "You know, we're all here for the same thing."

Iraheta added her parents are originally from El Salvador and said she's been exposed to singing bilingually her entire life.

"All my life I've been singing both Spanish and English, so it has really influenced [me].  I grew up singing Spanish, and then I did the bilingual," she told reporters.  "I've wanted to actually audition [for Idol] since nine, since I was that little."

(Photo credit Fox)


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