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Lane Tech Grad Earns 'American Idol' Golden Ticket to Hollywood

By Patty Wetli | January 18, 2013 3:27pm | Updated on January 18, 2013 4:11pm

ROSCOE VILLAGE — If you needed a reason to tune into the new season of "American Idol," besides the fake feud between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, how about cheering on a local singer poised to become the next Jennifer Hudson?

Kiara Lanier, a 2009 graduate of Lane Tech College Prep High School, wowed the Idol judges during her Chicago audition, televised Thursday night.

The 21-year-old's rendition of the Celine Dion power ballad "The Prayer" earned the singer a coveted "golden ticket" to the competition's Hollywood round. Forty-six singers in all from Chicago advanced.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the judges "loved the way Kiara went in [and] out of loud and soft with so much control."

If Lanier seemed poised, that's likely because she's performed in front of a more intimidating audience than the "Idol" judging panel — the President of the United States. The Chicagoan was chosen to sing at Barack Obama's birthday party last August.

During her years at Lane Tech, 2501 W. Addison St., Lanier was a member of the school's Jazz Ensemble and was part of Lane's Slam Team, performing at the annual Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam.

In coming weeks, "Idol" will air audition rounds from Charlotte, Baton Rouge and other cities before heading to Hollywood, where the real competition begins.