Hill dependent shines on American Idol

  • Published
  • By Kendahl Johnson
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Each year, American Idol searches across the country looking for amateurs with singing talents. This season, the reality show is offering one of Hill’s military dependents a chance to chase her dreams and showcase her amazing talent.

Elleigh Francom, daughter of the 75th Operations Support Squadron’s Lt. Col. Matthew Francom, advanced to Hollywood after her audition impressed the judges so thoroughly that Luke Bryan said she was “top 10.”

“It was a crazy experience,” Elleigh said. “It was a long day with a lot of sitting around filming. I was emotional and had to quickly pull it together and sing for the judges.”

Part of that emotion came from learning her father would be deploying for a year in April.

“He comes home every time, so we’ve been lucky, but it’s so scary,” she said during an interview with Idol producers.

She had initially planned to sing an Eagles song for her audition, but American Idol didn’t have the rights.  So a few days before auditions, she changed her song to “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. She nailed it, getting a standing ovation from all three judges.

“It was great!” Katie Perry said.

“I think she’s top 10,” Bryan said. “Seriously. Just really beautiful things going on in your voice. ... I just loved it, loved it.”

Elleigh, a 20-year-old cosmetologist from American Fork, Utah, grew up singing and dancing, encouraged by her mother, also a performer. She took lessons and grew her talent, and at age 16 made her first attempt at American Idol with an online Zoom audition.  She unfortunately didn’t make it past the first round.  She got her second chance this season when she was invited to audition in Los Angeles in late October of last year.

“A casting producer reached out to me over Instagram,” she said. “He saw some videos of me singing and dancing and wanted me to audition again.”

She said it was difficult growing up and moving so many times – the Francoms have moved nine times in 15 years – but feels she has benefitted her in this process.

“Constantly being the new kid, I had to learn how to be social in order to make new friends,” she said. “It helped me become good at being able to adapt to new situations and respond better when meeting new people. It was rough growing up, but I wouldn’t trade it.”

She also said it has helped to have the support of her entire family.

“We are very proud of Elleigh and all the hard work she has put in to building a singing career,” Lt. Col.  Francom said.  “This has been a dream of hers since she was dancing and singing all around the house as a toddler.  As the oldest of four kids, she has borne the brunt of military life, but the rigors of military life have made her extremely resilient and allowed our family to grow closer as a result.”

To view her audition, click here.  To see how she fares in the competition, follow her journey by watching new American Idol episodes. The next show airs March 31 on ABC.