It looked like she was heading into one of those oh-so-intense sing offs with Californian Briana Oakley, with whom she walked into the judge’s room hand-in-hand. But they were even spared the melodramatic faux rejections Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez fell back on all night, being quickly passed through to the Top 30.
Neelly was the only Kentuckian out of four who went to Hollywood week to crack the Top 30 — or Top 31, as the Idol judges have decided to let fans vote between the last two guys, Neco Starr and Ben Briley. Middlesboro’s Blake Branscom and Morehead State University student Zach Day did not make it to the round of 77, and Boyd County’s Jesse Cline was sent home on last night’s episode.
Making the Top 30 means Neelly will perform on the American Idol stage Tuesday night. This was Neelly’s fourth trip to Hollywood week, but it will be her first time singing in the live competition. The schedule has the Top 15 gals performing Tuesday night, the Top 15 guys Wednesday, and results Thursday.
Neelly has a little TV in her blood as, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, her parents are former WKRC-TV weekend anchor Cheryl Case Neelly and WLWT-TV news director Mike Neelly. Both are Cincinnati stations, and the paper says her family relocated to the Cincinnati area last summer. She is a 2013 graduate of North Oldham High School in Goshen and started at EKU last fall. According to her Facebook fan page, she is majoring in music industry.