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TMCNet:  Ex-Lehigh Valley resident to featured on Wednesday night's 'American Idol'

[February 13, 2013]

Ex-Lehigh Valley resident to featured on Wednesday night's 'American Idol'

Feb 13, 2013 (The Morning Call (Allentown - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A woman who competed in the Lehigh Valley Idol and Musikfest's Star of Bethlehem vocal competitions in 2009 has made it to the Hollywood round of "American Idol." Kalli Therinae, 20, will be shown in a feature segment on the show Wednesday night.

Therinae went by the name Kalli Georgellis when she lived in Northampton and competed in the local contests.

Judges Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj will evaluate Therinae (pronounced ther-a-nay) and other female contestants Wednesday and Thursday. The remaining 20 chosen female contestants will be part of the Top 40 who continue to compete.

On Tuesday, Therinae's photo was featured in a banner atop the "American Idol" website.

Molly O'Gara of "Idol" publicist BWR confirmed that Therinae's segment will air Wednesday.

Therinae now lives in Lehi, Utah, and she auditioned in Oklahoma City, Okla., she said in a telephone interview. The only time she's been shown on "Idol" was at the end of last Thursday's episode. She was among those celebrating making it through to the Hollywood round.

Therinae was not allowed to disclose details of the Hollywood rounds -- how she did or even the focus of her featured segment. But in a 1-minute-50-second interview video on the "Idol" website, Therinae said that when she was younger "I went through a lot of hard times." In the phone interview, Therinae said that in 2003 she was separated from her mother for several years. Her father, she said, took her to Greece without her mother's permission. There, she says, "music was kind of a way for me to escape." At 12, she sang at the Special Olympics opening ceremony in Athens, and later represented Greece in Eurovision, an "Idol"-like European singing competition.

"So we've gotten through a lot together, and we're at a good place now," she said. "I'm going to school, I'm on 'Idol' and everything's turning out really well. No matter how hard it gets, it can always get better." She left the Lehigh Valley in February 2010 and moved with her mother to Utah, where she's a freshman at Weber State University.

Her full name is Alexandra Kalli Therinae Georgellis, but she said she decided to use Kalli Therinae because in Greek, "Kalli" means "beautiful voice" and "Therinae" means "to sing." "So I feel like that would help me," she said.

In the online video, she recounts making it to the same level, the Top 90, on "Idol's" Season 11 last year, but "I always believed I could go a lot further." "I feel like this year I have more experience because I've gone though it before," she said in the telephone interview. "I knew, kind of, more what to expect. I think it helps for a contestant to try out again and again because it's such a complex process, it helps to have that experience to rely on." For example, she said her audition song was Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." "That's not a song choice that I would have made last year, but I believe it was a good choice this year because I kind of changed it up and make it my own. I feel like I just did that a little bit more this year than last year." Linda B. Norris, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Idol contest, said Therinae, finished second in the 2009 Lehigh Valley Idol competition. The Morning Call archives show her in the Top 10 in Musikfest's Star of Bethlehem contest.

Norris said Therinae trained with both a voice teacher and a vocal coach in the Lehigh Valley and went with the organization to perform in a New York City showcase, and sang at other venues throughout the Lehigh Valley and the Pocono Mountains.

Therinae said she no longer has family in the Lehigh Valley, but "we have lots of friends" with whom she keeps in contact.

Outside "Idol," she said, she sings at her community church every other Sunday and performs "wherever I can locally -- national anthems and open mikes." She said she won the Utah Top Talent competition.

"Anything I can, basically," she said. "I feel like I have a lot of experience now, which is really helpful in competitions like these." john.moser@mcall.com 610-820-6722 ___ (c)2013 The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) Visit The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) at www.mcall.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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