Lana Phillips Cut From "American Idol" - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/5/04 - Kilgore

Lana Phillips Cut From "American Idol"

Seventy-thousand people from all around the country auditioned, but only 117 got to go to Hollywood. One of them was 17-year-old Lana Phillips, a senior at Kilgore High School. She wowed the celebrity judges in Houston, and her friends today, with her rendition of "Big Deal," originally sung by LeAnn Rimes. But when the judging continued in Hollywood, Lana had to abandon familiar territory and write new music. Tuesday night was when things started going downhill.

"I had actually a really cute song," Phillips said. "But when you get up on stage and you hadn't slept much, it's really hard to remember anything that you've just learned."

But Lana says the judges, especially Paula, were rather understanding.

"I should've just made up something, but I just thought it was really funny," Phillips said. "And I started laughing on stage. But that's ok because I made that cut."

Then came the group song. Everyone had to group themselves into three's and four's. But Lana couldn't seem to find a group.

"The song that I chose wasn't one that many people were singing," Phillips said.

Lana says her group practiced for about an hour and finally went to sleep at 3:30 a.m. With just three hours of sleep, Lana feared the worst all day, going into last night's final showdown.

"I just stared at a piece of paper with the words on it and went and over and over it and practiced," Phillips said. "And I just couldn't get it. I think I got one line out and then I just started making stuff up. I pretty much knew it was over."

Lana didn't make it to the final 32.

"After I got cut, I went back to the hotel and slept until 11 o'clock the next morning," Phillips said. "And I felt fine and I could remember all the words, even the song that I made up."

Lana says she plans to return to the next "American Idol."

"I will be a lot more prepared if I get to go to Hollywood next time because I'll know to get as much sleep as possible and maybe... Is it ginkgo biloba that helps your memory?"

Lana hopes the next try will make her the next "American Idol."

Julie Tam, reporting.

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