GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Mara Justine is going to Hollywood.

The 16-year-old Galloway Township resident and Absegami High School sophomore has made it past the preliminary auditions on “American Idol” and will go on to compete against other singers in Hollywood.

"I'm feeling very good," Justine said. "I'm just so blessed and so happy right now."

The episode, which premiered at 8 p.m. on ABC Monday night, featured the local singer's audition first and showed her singing “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna in front of the judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

She received a standing ovation from all three of the judges.

"I don't think we need to critique," Katy Perry said. "I think we just need to vote."

"This is a top 10," Perry said, pointing to Justine.

Justine held a viewing party at her home, surrounded by her friends and family, who screamed and cried, when the judges gave her the golden ticket.

"I am so excited," her father, Bill Platt, said. "Amazed. Just so happy for her doing what she wants to do and being successful with it."

Justine auditioned for the show in October in New York City. While she was a little nervous before singing in front the judges, the nerves quickly faded away.

“I remember being a little bit nervous, because I know that they’re extremely big people,” Justine said during a phone interview last week. “They’re idols of mine.”

“They were very nice, very kind,” she added. “They really welcomed me in, and that made me feel better.”

Justine has 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.

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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