Vancouver singer makes fifth, final run at 'American Idol' crown

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



See her live

See her live

Who: Britnee Kellogg.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.

Where: Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave., Portland.

Cost: $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Show info: Roseland Theater or 971-230-0033.

On the Web: Britnee Kellogg


'American Idol' Hollywood round

What: Solo and group performances and eliminations leading to the semifinals.

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 13-14.

Where: Fox network, including KPTV, Channel 12.

The fifth time could be the charm for "American Idol" contestant Britnee Kellogg.

The Vancouver country singer and divorced mother of two has made it to the Hollywood round of the competition for the second year in a row, and audiences will learn her fate this week when the show airs Wednesday and Thursday nights on Fox.

It's the 28-year-old's fifth and final audition for the Fox program. She'll be too old to compete after this season, according to the rules.

"The stakes are a little higher because it's my last year," Kellogg said. "After this, if I don't make it, I'm done with reality shows."

The 2002 Prairie High School graduate has entered her share of competitions over the years. 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.

In 2010 she won a "Sing Like Taylor Swift" contest and flew to Nashville to meet the country music superstar.

Last summer, she won the Portland-area competition for the Texaco Country Showdown.

And beyond that, she's had enough success playing live that she's been able to quit her day job at a Vancouver bank. Last week she released her first music video, for her song "From The Ashes."

"If everything doesn't go well on 'Idol,' I'll be working on releasing an album this spring," Kellogg said. "I'm doing music full time now, and I've been doing that since September. Things are going really well."

The singer already knows if she advances to the semifinals, but showrunners have sworn all the contestants to secrecy, she said.

"That's the big surprise," Kellogg said.

Last year Kellogg almost made it.

Celebrity judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson initially picked her to advance from the Hollywood round, but after all 70 contestants auditioned, the judges cut some contestants -- including Kellogg -- to narrow the final pool to 42.

One criticism in 2012 was that her group, which included Jessica Phillips and Courtney Williams, didn't rehearse with the band and a vocal coach prior to its performance, while most other groups did.

Kellogg said her group, dubbed 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 she got to do it all over again, Kellogg said she would have rehearsed more.

This year, she thinks she did well in the group round, "but I can't tell you if I got past it," Kellogg said.

Whatever happens, she said she'll be sad to leave after five years. She's made a lot of friends through the audition process, including Aubrey Cleland of Portland, who also made it to the Hollywood round this year.

"There's a lot of people that come back every year -- it's almost like summer camp," Kellogg said with a laugh. "You see a lot of familiar faces."

She spent a lot of time hanging out with Cleland during the round, and the two also spend time together when they're home, she said.

"I'm a country girl and she's more pop, but I'd be open to working with her sometime," Kellogg said. "Really I hope people root for both of us on the show."

Previous "American Idol" winners include Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Kellogg said she was impressed with the female contestants on the show this season. She hopes that means an end to the five-year streak of white male guitar players winning the show.

"I honestly think it's ladies' year this year," she said. "The ladies are amazing."