Mooresville teen shines in ‘American Idol’ debut. How much further will she make it?

“Honestly – and I don’t even know why – but I really wasn’t nervous at all,” Shannon O’Hara says of her audition, which aired Sunday night. “I was just really calm. I had prepared for this performance for a long time, and I felt really comfortable with it.”Guy D’Alema/ABC

When you heard Shannon O’Hara sing Adele’s “When We Were Young” while playing piano on “American Idol” Sunday night, you just knew the judges were going to give her a Golden Ticket, right?

So did she.

“I’ve always done music my whole life, and I’ve been watching ‘American Idol’ since I was 6, and I’ve wanted to audition forever,” says the 17-year-old Mooresville native, a home-schooled high school senior. “So, I mean, I feel like it was just kind of meant to be that my first time auditioning for the show, I made it. … I knew for some reason, in my gut, that they were gonna put me through.”

Surprisingly, O’Hara had just slightly more than zero live performances of significance before her Savannah audition. No previous experience with bar or club shows. No big weddings or parties. She’s been to open casting calls for “America’s Got Talent” (twice) and “The Voice” (once), but struck out all three times. (This is the first year she’s been old enough to audition for “Idol.”)

Her biggest prior claims to fame: multiple talent-show victories in middle school and a turn as a soloist in front of several hundred people at church – which she says doesn’t count. “It’s not a performance. … Everyone’s singing with you.”

We have a sneaking suspicion, however, that by the time she’s done with “American Idol” this spring, O’Hara’s book will start filling with gigs.

Though multiple rounds of the show are in the can, featured contestants are locked into agreements with ABC that they won’t reveal whether they’ve made it to the live shows (which will start airing next month). That said, you’ll be interested to know that if you simply Google “Shannon O’Hara American Idol,” pretty much the whole first page of results has the word “spoilers” in the headline and … well, we won’t spoil it for you.

Instead, we’ll share the most interesting things we learned about the young woman who could very well be one of North Carolina’s best shots at bringing home the “Idol” crown this season.

You can learn more about Shannon O’Hara here


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