Two Utahns crack 'American Idol' top 30

Published: Friday, Feb. 14 2014 12:50 p.m. MST

Draper's Kenzie Hall was crying before the judges could speak a word. Harry handed her a box of tissues as the judges talked about her shaky final solo and strong initial Hollywood solo. It's going to be happy tears for Hall — she's a Top 15 girl!

Fox

After a nail-biting conclusion to Thursday night's episode, two Utahns have earned themselves a chance to fight for America's votes when "American Idol" goes live next week.

"Idol" trimmed its number of contestants from 49 to 30 this week, with 15 guys and 15 girls moving on to the live performances.

Throughout Thursday's episode, Draper's Kenzie Hall and Park City's Austin Wolfe, both 17, were occasionally shown in the waiting room calculating their chances of moving on to the next round. The two singers were some of the final contestants to face the judges.

"We're trying to figure out the math and figure out how many more spots are left for girls," a nervous Hall said as the two waited.

Hall was already in tears as she took a seat across from judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.

Lopez said that one of the moments that had stood out to her the most so far this season was when Hall dedicated a performance to her mother during Hollywood Week: "It was very touching and it told us a lot about you," Lopez said.

"I really want to make my mom proud," Hall replied, fighting back tears.

Lopez praised Hall for her strong overall showing in Hollywood and then broke the good news: "Today, you made it into the top 15. It's a yes."

Hall confirmed the good news moments later via Twitter:

"TOP 30," she posted.

With only minutes remaining in Thursday night's episode, Wolfe was selected to fill the final spot.

"Congratulations, Austin. You should be very happy," Lopez said.

"I remember her audition, like that," Urban said, snapping his fingers for emphasis.

"Me too," added Connick. "She can legitimately sing!"

Wolfe would also share her excitement on Twitter: "I can't even believe I'm singing on the live shows on Tuesday."

This week's episodes meant the end of the road for three other Utahns. Jocelyn Baker, Sabrina Haskett and Tessa Norman were all eliminated Wednesday night.

Norman, 19, of Lindon, told the Deseret News that Hollywood Week was a great experience. "I was really just happy to make it through the week," she said. "I was just like, 'Even if I make it past the first day of Hollywood Week, then I’m going to be excited' — and that’s a dream come true in itself. So just to be able to keep making it past every single day until the very last day was really cool for me."

Haskett, 15, of Highland, became close friends with Norman on the flight to Los Angeles and strengthened their bond during Hollywood Week.

"It was really fun being able to have somebody there where we were constantly doing the same thing," Haskett told the Deseret News. "It was really great to be able to share that experience."

Now that her time on the show is over, Haskett says she plans to continue writing new songs and making music videos.

"American Idol" will air three nights next week as opposed to its usual Wednesday/Thursday schedule. Hall and Wolfe will perform live on Tuesday Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. on Fox. For the first time this season, the two Utahns will rely on America's votes for their survival in the competition.

Email: achristensen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: atownmania

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