Aubrey Cleland is hoping the third time's a charm.
The college sophomore was 17 the first time she auditioned for American Idol in 2010. Last year she made the top 40.
Now with a ticket to Hollywood Week, she says she's going all the way this year. So far she's hit it off with at least one of this season's judges, the unpredictable Nicki Minaj.
"She said I looked like a star when I came in, which I took that as a huge compliment," Cleland said.
Veteran judge Randy Jackson also recognized Cleland from previous years.
"He was like, ‘You're back!'" Cleland said.
On Thursday the 19-year-old sat at her parent's house and watched her competition on American Idol. It was a welcome break from the intense pressure of competing on the show.
"I think it does get a little bit easier just because I feel more comfortable with myself and I've gotten older and I think I've matured a little bit and gotten a little bit more sure of myself," Cleland said.
Cleland plans to use everything she's learned from watching all 11 seasons of American Idol and performing on two.
"I was in a rut of singing the same kind of songs and I think it clicked after this. I found my niche and where I'm supposed to be singing," Cleland said.
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