Oregon ‘Idol’ contestant advances - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon ‘Idol’ contestant advances

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A recent Oregon State University graduate is now in the top 24 contestants on the singing competition American Idol.

Beaverton native Haley Johnsen, 23, learned her fate during the show broadcast Wednesday night on FOX 12.

Her friends and supporters gathered at the Memorial Union on the OSU campus to show their support and watch the program. The crowd erupted in cheers when the judges announced that Johnsen had made the cut.

"I'm just so excited for her," said Dani Rau, who was Johnsen's boss at a café on campus. "I want everything she wants for herself. I want her to be happy and I want her dreams to come true."

Supporters said Johnsen's musical ambitions were well known. They said she would often sing at local venues around Corvallis.

"I just wanted to tell the whole world, ‘Come check this girl out; she's really good,'" said Kevin Smith, a friend who would often watch her perform.

Many of her fans spoke about how well-deserving Johnsen is of her success.

"Haley is such a sweet person," said Greta Frey, who worked with her at the café. "It's just exciting for me knowing that someone who deserves it so much got such an amazing opportunity."

Johnsen minored in music at OSU and took classical voice lessons even though she was interested in being a pop singer.

"My philosophy has always been that having some classical training will help you with any style (of music) that you want to pursue," said Megan Sand, a vocal instructor who coached Johnsen during her senior year. "She has great presence; she's beautiful; she's kind; she's got the whole package."

Organizers of the watch-party said they will continue to host similar events as long as Johnsen is on American Idol.

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