The wail heard 'round the world came from the mouth of Idol's now #1 fan, 13 year old Ashley Ferl of Riverside, California.
Sitting in the Idol audience, before the show even started, young Ashley quickly made her presence felt to all of us there. 15 minutes before showtime, I saw a young girl approach ousted contestant Alaina Alexander, ask for her autograph and then break into hysterical sobbing after she got it. Good to see Alaina has such devoted fans, I thought. And then the show started and the dam really burst.
After the show I spoke to Ashley outside the backstage exit. Actually, Ashley was still gulping back tears so most of the interview had to be conducted through a translator - her mother. She revealed that the family obtained tickets on a website to attend a taping of “Smarter Than a 5th Grader” a day passage that included not just the taping of the show itself, but also the dress rehearsal of either “Grader” or “Idol.” The fates were kind, and the mother and daughter found their way to the “Idol” rehearsal, where Ashley’s waterworks began. Her prowess was quickly brought to the attention of “Idol” producers who summoned the clan to a ringside seat of honor at the final taping.
When I asked who she was supporting, Ashley could only give her top four picks and refused to narrow it down to a single singer. "Sanjaya, Melinda, Gina and Jordin. All four" she said over and over.
You can read my complete interview with the great Ashley Ferl at latimes.com/idoltracker.
Yahoo! Answers Staff Note: Richard Rushfield is a reporter for the LA Times and a member of the Yahoo! TV ‘American Idol’ Expert Pool.