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Cornell student headed to Hollywood after getting golden ticket on 21st season of American Idol

Cornell University student Amara Valerio is embarking on an exciting journey, having secured a golden ticket to Hollywood for the 21st season of American Idol.


Originally from Yonkers, the 21-year-old American Studies major has been singing for as long as she can remember. Valerio’s audition for American Idol was a significant milestone in her life, and she describes the experience as both nerve-wracking and surreal. Her talent caught the attention of an American Idol producer when a video of her singing went viral.

While Valerio excels in her academic pursuits, including an internship at the Broome County Public Defender’s Office and involvement in Cornell’s Office of Academic Diversity, she also makes time for her passion for music. She is a member of Cornell’s all-women a cappella group, Nothing but Treble.


Valerio emphasizes the importance of charting one’s own path and acknowledges the support she’s received from her community.

This is Valerio’s second time auditioning for American Idol, with her first attempt in 2020. Fans can follow Amara’s journey throughout the season as she pursues her dreams on the popular singing competition show.