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January 31, 2014

'Idol' perfection

Judges heap praise as Andover vocalist heads to Hollywood

(Continued)

Connick made it unanimous,

“If all you had was that voice, that would certainly be enough to get you to Hollywood, but I’m excited to see some of the other aspects of you as you come through,” he said. “But I really enjoyed that very much.”

McQuillen said she chose the Lovato song, which she has performed countless times, including at several of Andover’s elementary and middle schools, because of its message.

“It’s about bullying and being strong for yourself, at least that’s how I see it,” she said. “It focuses on the idea of a positive self-image and anti-bullying, which have always been so meaningful to me.

“I picked it because in the moment (of the auditions), I could be singing it to myself and was convincing myself I was strong enough to be there,” she said.

As an overjoyed McQuillen exited the stage into the arms of her exuberant mother, Flora, who was waiting backstage, Urban told “Idol” viewers, “She is excellent. She’s got all the right things to blossom.”

As social media sites were exploding with love and support last night after her audition aired, McQuillen struggled to take it all in.

Now it’s onto Hollywood. McQuillen is among the 212 vocalists picked to advance to the next round, during which this season’s final, 30-odd contestants will be chosen. While the Hollywood round has already been taped, McQuillen is sworn to secrecy by “American Idol.” Fans will have to wait until next Wednesday night to see what happens next.

But if Connick is any indication, McQuillen seems to have won some early backing.

“That’s going to be a fun one to watch,” he said of McQuillen.

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