'Idol' hopeful falls short of national recognition

After a whirlwind of auditions in Los Angeles and Hollywood, Amber Cleveland is back at school in Lincoln, Neb.

A 2000 graduate of Carson High School, Cleveland competed for the opportunity to appear on the Fox television show "American Idol," but was cut during tryouts Friday.

"She's disappointed, but she's OK with it," said her proud father, Gene Cleveland.

His 20-year-old daughter won an all-expense paid trip to the auditions after winning a Mid-American Idol contest in Lincoln, where she attends the University of Nebraska.

It was at the urging of her Phi Nu sorority sisters that Amber Cleveland decided to enter the contest sponsored by radio station KFRX.

She was stunned to win the competition and anxious about competing on the larger scale. She was among the top 120 selected from the original 5,000 competing.

"That's pretty damn good for just walking in cold and not knowing what to expect," Gene Cleveland said.

Friday, the remaining contestants performed in front of judges including superstar Paula Abdul and the executive producer of the "American Idol" television series.

The Carson High graduate did not make the final 30.

She plans to continue working toward a degree in nutrition. Her father said he will support her if she decides to pursue a singing career after graduation.


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