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Local Teen Gets Her Shot at Stardom on American Idol

Kristi Krause, who wrote a song for Chelsea King, traveled to San Francisco to try out for the singing competition.

At last—as her favorite song by one of her favorite singers goes—17-year-old Kristi Krause had her moment in the spotlight.

The senior traveled from San Diego to San Francisco to audition for American Idol this past fall, using her favorite song by Etta James and her faith in God to carry her through.

It was a "dream come true," Krause said of several successful audition rounds before American Idol judges and producers. The San Francisco auditions are set to air tonight on FOX at 8 p.m. and Krause, who said she has been seen in some of the previews, may be featured on the show.

Krause's "proud Daddy" Bob has a photo of his daughter holding up a lucky golden ticket in San Francisco, symbolizing her move through the audition rounds and eventually onto the Hollywood phase of the singing competition.

A FOX spokesperson confirmed that Kristi Krause auditioned, but said the show will not say who will be featured on the show or whether she moved onto the next round until after the show airs.

The Hollywood stage of the competition—the precursor to the final voting rounds—starts airing Thursday. Nearly 300 auditioners from previous tryout cities, such as Los Angeles and Nashville, are featured in videos on the American Idol site as participants in the Hollywood round.

After Kristi Krause's successful audition tonight, she'll be up there, too.

The Krause family has a viewing party planned for tonight at their home in 4S Ranch. Per agreements with FOX, the family is not permitted to say whether Kristi makes it past the Hollywood round until after it airs.

But in recalling the San Francisco tryout, Kristi and her dad spoke of a great experience where the teen felt the presence of God with her through all three rounds of auditions.

"She would say that she could feel God's presence, that he was lifting her up," Bob Krause said. He went with Kristi to the San Francisco auditions while her mother, Deanna Krause, joined her in Hollywood, he said.

"When I got the golden ticket in San Francisco, I was really excited because the judges ... [Randy Jackson] is a little bit tougher this year," Kristi Krause said.

Though the family is not saying whether Kristi made it past Hollywood, they've got big plans for her next year.

The RB High cheer captain with a 3.8 GPA plans to attend Palomar College as she focuses on her music, she said. She described her music as having a "blue-sy pop feel," and said her role models, in addition to Etta James, are Christina Aguilera and Eva Cassidy.

Bob Krause, who has made a career in video production, produced a music video of Kristi singing Etta James' "At Last" in her bedroom in a tribute performance. It took about five takes—the third was the best, he said—and Kristi sang the song the whole way through each time. In the video, Kristi is shown looking through several Etta James photographs.

"I think it's important to remember people who are awesome singers that don't get that much recognition these days," Kristi Krause said.

Last year, Kristi also wrote and sang a song called "Angel Forever" for Poway teen Chelsea King, who was killed in February by sexual predator John Gardner.

"The song was done for the community, parents and everyone else ... [to] go out to them and help them heal through the words of the song," she said.

American Idol airs on FOX at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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