LOS ANGELES — “American Idol” is weeks away from crowning a winner, but this week a standout from the audience took center stage.
You might not recognize her with dry eyes, but we followed 13-year-old “Idol” fan Ashley Ferl and her brother, mother and father as they hit New York City like Sanjaya Malakar hits the salon — with energy.
She signed her first autograph and after talking to the TODAY show it only took a few minutes for a sightseeing bus to recognize Ashley from her memorable TV debut.
Ashley gave us a play-by-play of her Tuesday night “Idol” experience.
More Entertainment stories
Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts
In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...
- Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
- See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
- Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
- 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom
- Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts
“At the beginning, they all like waved to me,” she told Access Hollywood. “I was like ‘oh my gosh! They just waved to me, I’m so excited!’”
Ashley was given to tickets to the live broadcast after her tears attracted the attention of the producers.
“They were like ‘you should come back to the show and watch the show’ so I got to come back,” she said.
When Ashley was brought up on the stage post-show to meet all her “Idols,” Ashley coached herself.
“Don’t say anything dorky,” she told herself.
She also got some priceless memorabilia.
“I got all their autographs,” she enthused. “I got earrings from Paula Abdul. They’re like hearts.”
Not so fast though. Ashley wasn’t able to wear Paula’s gift.
“I don’t have my ears pierced,” she sighed.
Ashley does have her toes and braces coordinated in “Idol” blue. And, she is Sanjaya Malakar’s biggest supporter despite his many critics.
“I just like go ‘you’re wrong,’” she says when confronted with a Sanjaya doubter. “Or, I ignore them.”
So what is it about him that she likes so much?
“His voice and his hair and his personality, just everything,” she said. “He’s just like — phenomenal.”
And, Ashley’s waterworks may be back if he’s the next “Idol” to be booted.
“I’ll be really sad and I’ll cry,” she begins, “again.”
Eighty percent of Access viewers thought he should have bit the dust last night. Instead, Stephanie Edwards was sent packing. Look for Stephanie on our own stage Monday for an encore performance.
Copyright 2013 by NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.