'Never give up': Durham's Ashley Tankard 'going to Hollywood' for 'American Idol' season 21

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Monday, February 27, 2023
Durham woman 'going to Hollywood' for 'American Idol' season 21
Ashley Tankard of Durham is "going to Hollywood" after receiving gold ticket in season 21 auditions.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Ashley Tankard of Durham is "going to Hollywood" after receiving gold ticket in season 21 auditions.

Tankard auditioned in front of judges singing "You Broke Me First' by Tate McRae. She got a yes from judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie moving her on to the next round.

"This is proof to anybody who wants to give up, do not give up," she said. "If it takes you two times, if it takes you fifteen, if it takes you one hundred. It will happen. It happened for me."

Ashley Tankard talks 'American Idol' perseverance

For some of the American Idol contestants, getting in front of the celebrity judges has been a long journey.

Durham native Ashley Tankard's first audition for American Idol was in 2015 at the DPAC when she was 15 years old.

The show has been a part of her wish list since 2004 when Tankard saw a young mom from High Point win season three.

"Oh my gosh, Fantasia," she said. "That is the first memory I have, one of the first memories I have, watching Fantasia win, and my family just screaming."

Tankard said it helped her see something in herself.

"I can do anything, anybody can do anything," she said. "No matter what you go through in life, you can still go after your dreams."

Every single year, multiple times throughout the year her hopes of advancing through auditions hit a sour note.

"I really do have a gift that I want to share," she said. "Musically I felt like I had it."

Idol producers disagreed, but she didn't stop.

"I kind of was like I'm done singing, after that, because it was a lot of rejection up to that point," Tankard said.

She said throughout her journey she wants to inspire people young and old to follow their dreams.

"No matter how hard, no matter how long it takes to get there, I really want to be able to inspire people to do that," Tankard said.

So, she took a trip to Las Vegas with her older sister, Angela where she found herself performing for Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan.

"Never give up," Tankard said.


Watch Ashley Tankard of Durham as she auditions in season 21 on Sunday, February 26.

The nationwide search began on February 19. Tune in this Sunday as judges head to Las Vegas, Nashville and New Orleans, and contestants continue to sing for a ticket to Hollywood week.

Fans across the Triangle can cheer on Ashley Tankard of Durham.

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