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Local restaurant throws premiere party for South Bend Teen

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The American Idol premiere on ABC kicked off Sunday night. 

Anticipation has been growing across the country, but also right here in Michiana, with South Bend's own Tayah Smith auditioning on the national stage. 

But it's her community and her family that's helping her through this time.

"It started with her grandpa, they came in for forever with her mom," explains Amber Thomas, the owner of Tradewinds Restaurant in Mishawaka. 

Thomas says this community is its own family.

And for her, she found Tayah and her mom Tricia, as an extension of her family, in the booths of Tradewinds.

"We watched them grow up since they were tiny little bits, and they watched us grow up since we were tiny little bits," laughs Thomas. 

One of those little bits?

17-year-old Smith. 

Thomas is extremely proud of her accomplishments so far, and the journey that could be still ahead. 

"How amazing Is that? It's so cool for someone from your hometown, I'm so excited for them," she says. "I'm so excited for her. What a milestone at such a young age. It's incredible."

But she was so proud, she knew she had to help celebrate.

Thomas decided to throw a premiere party for her at the place where it all started. 

It's a birth of a new beginning, backed by a community's love and support for Smith and the show.

"I love those singing shows. And to actually know somebody? It's going to be phenomenal!," says Thomas. 

She hopes that the community will have the chance to support Smith, however far she goes.

"I hope that Mishawaka does what they need to do and gets behind, and supports our local celebrity," says Thomas.

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