Mara Justine gets ready for "American Idol"

Absegami High School sophomore Mara Justine is currently competing on "American Idol." Every other Friday, Justine has a lesson with Sal Dupree at his Linwood studio, where she spends sometimes six hours at a time honing her instrument, her voice. Thursday, March 29

ERIN GRUGAN / Staff Photographer

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Mara Justine has made it through to the top 14 on “American Idol.”

The 16-year-old Absegami sophomore was the first contestant to advance through to the next round, where viewers get to vote for their favorite singer.

Justine sang “Fight Song” alongside the song’s original singer, Rachel Platten, on piano, to earn her the top spot on Monday night’s episode during a round of celebrity duets.

She received a standing ovation from judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

“You actually found your center,” Richie said. “Sometimes, it takes standing still to find who you are. In this case, that vulnerability, your power and that voice, paid off.”

“I love you,” he added.

After her performance, Bryan and Richie tweeted at Justine.

Justine was also featured on Sunday night’s episode of solo performances, singing Whitney Houston’s “Run to You.”

Justine also competed on “Maury’s Most Talented Kids” when she was 10 and was a finalist on “America’s Got Talent” when she was 12.

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Contact: 609-272-7241 Twitter @ACPressMollyB

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