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Boone County Native Breaks Through To The Next Round Of American Idol

Eric McCandless/ABC
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
Boone County native Kelsie Dolin in Hollywood on Monday, March 28.

Updated on Monday, April 4, 2022 at 8:35 a.m.

A West Virginian is on an international stage to showcase her talent.

Kelsie Dolin made it into the next round of the American Idol singing and performance competition on Sunday. Viewers learned the Boone County native made it through the duets part of the competition.

The next American Idol is Monday, April 4 at 8 p.m. Monday's performances are expected to be the last round of competition before the live performance phase of American Idol.

Dolin’s humble demeanor and grateful heart has captured the hearts of Americans and brought judges to tears.

Viewers learned that it was Dolin’s first time ever performing during her audition in Austin.

“I don't really know how to put it into words,” Dolin said. “I think going into the audition, I didn't really expect to get the responses that I got. So it was a shock, definitely. But it was cool.”

The performance won her a ticket to the first round of the American Idol singing competition in Hollywood.

Shaking at first, Dolin overcame her fears with encouragement and a standing ovation from contestants.

“Going out there, it was fun,” she said. “I got a lot closer with some people I had met in Austin. It was cool to be out there with everybody and get to know them better.”

Singing has helped Dolin cope with life challenges. Her grandparents raised her to prevent state officials from taking custody.

“The first time I remember really singing, I was about four or five. I was with my grandpa in the living room,” Dolin said. “He had this big stereo by the TV and my grandma was in a room listening to some kind of church tape that our church had recorded. And Paw, he was just playing ‘Blue on Black.’ We just blasted it in the living room. And we got in trouble by my grandma. It was way too loud. Like he had it up all the way.”

Dolin’s grandmother recently passed away and she wants to make her proud. She frequently encouraged Dolin to sing in church.

“I tried to sing in church one time,” Dolin told the judges during her audition in Austin. “The music started playing and I just froze.”

Dolin hopes her journey in the singing competition will make her grandmother proud. It’s still not easy to perform, but she says the experience is helping Dolin learn how to overcome yet another challenge.

“I'm not really as nervous as I was when I [first] went out there,” Dolin said. “But the nerves and everything it's still all there.”

*Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect Dolin's advancement in the American Idol competition on Sunday, April 3.

Southern W.Va. Bureau Chief, Reporter/Producer, jlilly@wvpublic.org, 304-384-5981, @JessicaYLilly

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