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Local 'American Idol' contestant heads to Hollywood after multiple attempts

It took multiple tryouts over several years in singing competition shows, but local "American Idol" contestant Erika Hill is "going to Hollywood."

Hill, a dental assistant who used to teach voice lessons, was able to make that announcement after the end of the final "Idol" audition episode finished Sunday night without her appearing.

In a brief telephone interview, Hill acknowledged not making any of the audition shows was "a bummer" for her friends and family but she added the whole experience has been an extremely positive one.

By her count, she had tried out for "Idol" and the NBC singing competition show "The Voice" several times in the past decade.

She said she learned from every rejection over the years, which culminated with her getting a golden ticket to Hollywood this time from judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry.

"It is all about your song choices and being to carry your emotions as well as singing it well," she said.

During her tryout in New York City, Hill said she was accompanied by her boyfriend, Kevin Ford, on guitar for the song "Paris" by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals.

Bryan immediately complimented her, while Richie asked her to sing another tune.

She chose "Bottom of the River" by Delta Rae. After Hill finished, Perry said her start was much stronger than it was on her first song.

Then the judges told Hill she was headed to Hollywood, and she quickly shared the success with friends and family who came to the audition.

"Everybody was crying," she said. "I felt that love and support."

It wasn't hard for her to deliver the moral of the story of triumphing after so many previous attempts.

"It is never time to give up, it is never time to stop," said Hill. "You have to take rejection and keep going."

A publicist for the ABC program said it is up to the production team to decide if or when Hill's Hollywood appearance will air.

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