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'American Idol' spotlight focuses on two Tampa Bay contestants

People have been saying it to her for a while now: get ready for your time on American Idol to change your life.

There's just one problem for 16-year-old Tampa resident Shannon Magrane. It's already happened.

"I mean, American Idol created a Twitter account for me, and when I saw it was verified I literally threw my hands up in the air and did a little happy dance," said Magrane. "People come up to me in the mall and ask about being on the show. It already has changed my life."

Magrane and Valrico resident Jeremy Rosado, 19, perform this week as part of American Idol's top 24 semi-finalists; the first group of singers to be judged by votes from the audience.

And what distinguishes these Tampa Bay area teens so far, beyond their singing skill, is the attention Idol has paid them — turning them into standout contestants in the process.

Rosado sang Tuesday night along with 12 other male semi-finalists selected last week. Magrane sings tonight during a performance episode where viewers vote afterward.

A sophomore at Blake High School, Magrane would have gained notoriety even if her only claim to fame was judge Steven Tyler leering in her first audition that the teenage singer was "hot, humid and happening" right in front of her dad, former pro baseball player Joe Magrane.

But she's also become a focus on the show, wowing the judges with a soulful version of the ballad What a Wonderful World and singing a Kelly Clarkson tune well enough that judge Jennifer Lopez claimed she got goosebumps.

Magrane said fans at Blake already have created T-shirts emblazoned with her face and the phrase "Magrane Fame," showing their support.

"I've been preparing for this since day one," said the teen, who, like the other semifinalists, was selected for the Top 24 weeks ago, but prohibited from discussing it until Idol revealed the picks last week.

"I want America to see I'm not just a singer, I'm a performer," Magrane added. "I want to inspire people and I want to be an artist."

Similar attention has fallen on Rosado, 19, who Lopez told last week "there's no way we wouldn't want you" among the Top 24 singers.

Often it seems conquering nerves is the biggest challenge for Idol contestants, but Rosado said he had a special cure for that.

"For me, my faith is what pulls me through…God is my everything," said Rosado, a Hillsborough Community College student who serves as a worship leader in his church and sings in the choir. "I'm nervous until I finally start singing."

Told that St. Petersburg native Michael Lynche, who placed fourth on Idol back in 2010, advised him and Magrane not to take anything for granted and realize "it's that one shot which can change your life," Rosado responded with gratitude.

"It's wonderful to hear that," said the singer, who had auditioned for Idol four times previously before making the show this season. "I've dreamt about being on that stage since I was 10 years old. Now, you give it all you've got and trust that God has it in his hands."

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American Idol airs at 8 tonight and Thursday on WTVT-Ch. 13

'American Idol' spotlight focuses on two Tampa Bay contestants 02/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:07pm]
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