Elleigh Marie Francom didn’t get very far the first time she auditioned for “American Idol.

She was 16 then, and, like thousands of aspiring contestants throughout the country, hopped onto a Zoom call to sing for “Idol” producers with the hopes of making it to the big audition — the televised one in front of celebrity judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. She didn’t end up making it past that online preliminary round, though, and figured she wasn’t cut out for “Idol.”

Until four years later, when a casting producer reached out and encouraged her to audition again. When Francom received that message, she took a screenshot and sent it to her parents.

“They were like, ‘That’s not real, don’t respond,’” Francom recently told the Deseret News.

But Francom wasn’t as skeptical. She did a little digging, and when she was fairly confident it wasn’t a scam, responded and got her audition set up.

In a nutshell, the second one went a lot better.

Francom, a cosmetologist from American Fork, Utah, eventually found herself in Los Angeles, singing for the “American Idol” judges. Based on the judges’ reactions following her audition, the 20-year-old singer has a good shot of going far in the competition. Now, after surviving the Hollywood round that aired Sunday and Monday (although her performances didn’t get much airtime), Francom has made it to the top 24.

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Elleigh Francom auditions for ‘American Idol’

Francom was emotional going into her “American Idol” audition. Earlier that day, she had learned that her father, who is in the Air Force, would be deploying for a year.

“Growing up as a military kid, it was pretty rough. My dad was gone a lot of the time,” she said in a clip that aired ahead of her audition. “So a lot of the responsibilities did fall on me.

“He comes home every time, so I’m just lucky that that happens,” she continued. “But regardless, it’s just so scary.”

After introducing herself to the judges — which included a comment from Bryan about American Fork sounding like “a very patriotic town” — Francom performed Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

She had the judges on their feet.

“It was great!” Perry said. “You started off somewhat average, and then you landed it in a space that was like, ‘Woah! Oh my gosh.’ If you sang from that space every time, we would be in like superstar territory.”

Bryan took it a step further, predicting the singer would be a top contender in the competition.

“I think she’s top 10,” the country star said, as Francom’s hands flew to her mouth in shock. “Seriously. Just really beautiful things going on in your voice. ... It got really well done, really classy, really older than your years. I just loved it, loved it.”

“You went to a place that was so pure and so angelic,” Richie added. “And it was really one of those moments where we couldn’t keep our eyes off of you.”

The three “Idol” judges then invited Francom’s family into the room, where they revealed that the singer would be moving on to the Hollywood round of the competition.

For Francom, that was the icing on the cake. Just getting to the audition itself was the real moment of validation.

“It’s already so scary that after you do something like that, regardless of the outcome, it’s kind of nice to just know that I did it,” she told the Deseret News. “‘Cause I mean, I tried when I was 16 and I literally never thought I would do that again until they offered it to me. ... I should have just done it without them offering it to me, just to do it. But it just kind of proved to me that just because you fail at something once doesn’t mean you can’t do it again.”