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Premiere of American Idol, months-long process for South Bend teen

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Two hours of unbelievable talent.  That was clearly seen in the premiere of American Idol on ABC.

Singers from across the country, gave all they had Sunday night, auditioning to become the next American Idol. 

But it's been months in the making for one South Bend teen.

"I started this American Idol process back in August," says 17-year-old Tayah Smith.

From Michiana Idol to moving those winners to audition in Chicago.

Finally, it's the day, the moment, everyone has been waiting for: especially Tayah and her mom Tricia. 

"Being a young girl watching American Idol, and growing up telling my mom and my family that I was going to be on that show, that I'm going to audition for American Idol," says Smith. "I did that at just 17."

While she didn't appear in Sunday's episode, that day is coming soon.

"It's exciting, it's scary," says Tricia. "We have a really strong faith, so we just trust that whatever happens, we've prayed it through."

Tayah's biggest concern is making sure she does well to honor her hometown. 

"I'd like to represent South Bend really well. I've never seen any past participants from South Bend," she explains. "So to be one of the first is a really cool feeling and I'm going to hold that close to my heart."

A heart that will always remember her home, and the people who take such pride in her possible achievements.

"Everyone is being kind of like my family here. I think since I've been on this American Idol journey, I've grown closer to people in South Bend because they want to support me. I just feel so much love," says Tayah.

She says family is what got her here. And family is what will get future generations to pursue their own dreams.

"I love American Idol. It was my favorite show, my mom and I loved it," she says. "And the fact that it's coming back, and not even that I get to be a part of it, but that it will bring families together. And they'll get to watch it together."

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