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Utah woman strives to build on momentum after ‘American Idol’ appearance

By Curtis Booker - Daily Herald | Jun 6, 2024
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This photo shows Elleigh Marie Francom, a top 24 contestant on the 22nd season of "American Idol."
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This photo shows Elleigh Marie Francom, a contestant on the 22nd season of "American Idol."

Getting the chance to showcase one’s talent in front of millions of viewers each week isn’t something that happens to everyone. And for American Fork’s Elleigh Marie Francom, it’s an experience she doesn’t take for granted.

The 21-year-old made it to the top 24 as a contestant during the 22nd season of “American Idol,” which just wrapped up in May.

From the start, she captivated the panel of celebrity judges with an emotional cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” gaining praise from the likes of superstar hitmakers like Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.

Francom previously tried out for a shot on “Idol” when she was 16 but didn’t advance past the online audition. “I just sang for them and they were like, ‘OK, we’ll email you with the results,’ and then I never heard anything,” Francom explained. “So I’m assuming that meant that I didn’t make it that time.”

Discouraged by the silent rejection, Francom hadn’t planned to try out for the singing competition again, until four years later when a casting producer reached out to her. “They asked me, have you ever thought about auditioning? And I was like, ‘Yeah, I actually did, but … I was 16,'” she told the Daily Herald.

The outcome on “Idol” propelled Francom onto the national spotlight to chase her dreams. But there’s much more to the local musician than her singing talents.

Growing up as a military kid and the oldest of four children, she’s had to display ​​strength resilience throughout her upbringing when her father, who is in the Air Force and currently is stationed at Hill Air Force Base, would have to leave for deployment. She said having to move around a lot is challenging, but it’s made their family closer. “It is kind of tough. I feel like me and my family and my siblings turned out alright, but we had to really rely on each other,” Francom said.

Currently, she works as a cosmetologist, but can be seen on TikTok and Instagram singing and dancing to a broad range of music genres. She says her love for performing was inspired by her mother who also sang, and she recalls watching “Idol” with as a young child.

Being on a national platform exposed her to new fans and she plans to build on the momentum. “I’ve been writing and talking with producers and setting up writing sessions with other (“Idol”) contestants and friends to just kind of start getting some music out,” Francom said.

Her newfound fandom can see her performing in Utah County this summer.

Francom will hit the stage Saturday during Fork Fest at Art Dye Park in American Fork. And just recently, she was booked as the opening act for the Big Show and fireworks display July 20 during American Fork’s Steel Days, the city’s annual summer celebration.

Two years ago, Francom served as the first attendant in the Miss American Fork royalty and would often sing the national anthem at various events. She said it’s been great having the community embrace her. “I mean, people always ask me where I’m from, and I never really know what to say just because of how I grew up, like moving every two years,” she said. “It feels nice to have like a hometown, because I really have never had that and I feel like American Fork is a really supportive community, so that was nice to experience.”

Francom continues to pursue a music career and encourages those who want to keep up with her journey to follow along on social media. “That’s probably the most direct way to get any updates or see any of my music that I’ll be releasing, hopefully very soon,” she said.

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