(Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
(Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)
The morning after her tearful exit from “American Idol” was broadcast to the world, Vancouver resident Britnee Kellogg was back at work Friday at a local bank.
While fans were posting encouraging words on her Facebook page about her performance, she still hadn’t watched the pivotal episode herself.
Thursday night, as the show aired, the 27-year-old divorced mother of two sang at a southeast Portland bar to a sellout crowd and signed autographs afterward. When she got home, she said, she couldn’t bring herself to watch the segment, which featured her performance of “You Just Keep Me Hangin’ On” with two fellow contestants, followed by her emotional end-of-show elimination.
“I just didn’t (watch),” Kellogg said Friday. “I was on such a high” after the live performance.
The Portland gig wasn’t the bright lights of Hollywood or the glitter of Vegas, but music is music and it won’t stop -- according to Kellogg -- just because the TV cameras have been turned off. If she’s learned anything from competing on the Fox show, she said it’s to keep pursuing her dream and keep seeking opportunities -- all while recognizing she can’t control the outcome.
“You just have to take what you can from the experience and do better,” she said. “I do plan on being successful at music at whatever level.”
Kellogg credits the show, a widely popular Fox TV fixture that’s recently tanked in ratings, for giving her exposure on the national stage, which she hopes can help further her career. Already, she has been mentioned in People magazine, ABC News and several other national news outlets. Fans from as far away as Brazil and the Philippines have expressed support on her Facebook fan page and on Twitter.
“The support since I’ve been on the show has been so unexpected,” she said.
A 2002 Prairie High School graduate who works at Regents Bank by day, Kellogg is no stranger to the stage. She began singing at age 5 and spent 10 years participating in pageants, including winning first runner-up for talent at the Miss Teen America pageant at age 15. With a background in country music, she won a “Sing Like Taylor Swift” contest in 2010, and flew to Nashville to meet the country music superstar.
She also is a single mother, which takes time away from dating, she admits. She said she isn’t seeing anyone at the moment.
Concerning her future music plans, Kellogg said she plans to hire a manager to help her capitalize on her national exposure and seek more ways to get noticed. In the meantime, she will continue performing local gigs with her veteran band, 5 Guys Named Moe, and also hopes to record a CD.
Kellogg said she plans to audition for Idol again in June. Her first experience, she said, was emotional and, at times, frustrating.
As seen in Thursday’s episode, after her group’s performance Kellogg was chosen by celebrity judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson to advance to the next round. But after all 70 contestants auditioned, the judges announced they had to make more cuts to narrow the group to 42.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to be in the top 40,’” she said. “They called us back on stage and I was in shock. That’s why I got so emotional. It was the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.”
Some have criticized Kellogg and the others in her group, Jessica Phillips and Courtney Williams, for apparently not rehearsing beforehand with the band and a vocal coach, as most other contestants did.
Kellogg said her group, “The Neapolitans,” did rehearse the first day with the band. But Williams wanted to rest her voice on the second, optional day of rehearsal.
“If I had my choice, absolutely I would” have practiced another day, Kellogg said.
Another difficulty for Kellogg was leaving her young sons, Caiden and Hudson, behind on the weeks when she competed in Hollywood and Las Vegas.
Her mother moved into her house to take care of the boys.
“Honestly, it was tough being in Hollywood and not being with my kids,” she said.
Even with her exit from the competition, Kellogg said, she plans to follow the show closely. She made friendships with contestants from all over the country, some of whom she still keeps in touch with.
Her time will come another day, she hopes.
“My immediate life hasn’t changed. It’s just the exposure -- and people contacting me that I don’t know -- that’s been the biggest difference,” she said. “I hope that hard work will pay off.”