Dodgeville singer makes her mark on American Idol - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dodgeville singer makes her mark on American Idol

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DODGEVILLE (WKOW) -- You may be one of the millions of fans around the country who watched as American Idol launched the careers of many singers over 15 seasons.

Now, the groundbreaking series returns and premiered Sunday on ABC.

A Dodgeville singer/songwriter worked her way through the auditions.

28-year-old Julica Kelly impressed us on WKOW Idol last September.

We sent her to the front of the line in Chicago for the national auditions, where show producers sent her to Nashville to sing in front of the new American Idol judges.

"Something that I never imagined could've happened to me," says Julica.

That day in Nashville was a true test.

"Most of the time was spent doing interviews, spent talking to vocal coaches, trying to just figure out what song choice is best."

More than 12 hours after arriving at auditions, she met Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan face to face. 

"Once you're in front of the judges, it is very quick. You're in and then you're out. I chose to sing Adele, 'All I Ask."

Performing in front of Lionel Richie, meant Julica was performing in front of one of her idols.

"I was really excited to meet him and really wanted to make a good impression."

She did, but it wasn't quite enough.

They sent her home, with this message:

"We really just don't know where you fit in the music industry. We're not really sure where you fit in the mainstream.' And, I guess my response to that is, I really never have fit in the mainstream, it's really not where I plan to go with my music."

It's the same feedback she got nearly 10 years ago, when she made it to Hollywood on the show.

"With this experience being my last experience with American Idol, it was huge for me. At the end I was exhausted, I was really emotional, I was kind of angry."

But this time, Julica had her biggest supporter with her, her 2-year-old daughter Mikova.

"The life of a musician has its ups and downs, it's adventurous. I wanted her to see the good in it and hopefully she can pick up some of that too, along the way."

It's been a long American Idol journey and one that's opened a lot of doors for Julica.

"Throughout the years, meeting Paula Abdul, Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Simon, and opening for bigger bands, like Foghat, I've been able to do some really cool things and I'm pretty proud of myself."

Her next step? Heading back to Nashville.

"Definitely to record an album. I think that getting my original music out there, because I am a singer song writer, I play guitar and multiple instruments," she says. "Nothing's gonna stop me from pushing toward my dream."

Julica writes a lot of her own music and you can find it by searching for her on Youtube.

You can watch Julica's audition in front of the judges Monday, March 19 on American Idol.

The show is on Sundays and Mondays from 7-9pm.

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