A southern Minnesota teenager appeared on "American Idol" and told the nation of her emotional struggles before wowing the judges with her singing.
Shelby Tweten, of North Mankato, sang "Temporary Home" by 2005 "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood during her audition in October in Aspen, Colo.
Tweten's performance on the FOX Network show earned her that "You're going to Hollywood" declaration from judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson.
Various spoiler websites are revealing what they calculate has happened to the Mankato West senior and others in the subsequent rounds of competition on the nation's leading reality show. Each performer is sworn to secrecy until being dismissed.
Tweten's air time Wednesday was extensive, with a video vignette shot back home that included her horseback riding.
With her mother, Karrey Tweten, by her side, Shelby also explained her struggles with being bipolar and battling depression.
" 'American Idol' has given me a reason to stay on my meds," the 18-year-old said. "I do want to show people that being bipolar doesn't define who you are."
Tweten's story unleashed an avalanche of messages of encouragement and understanding on her Twitter account. "You are brave and beautiful," one began. "God gave you two voices for a reason ... don't stop singing and don't stop telling your story!"
Before heading to school Thursday for finals for choir and other subjects, Tweten said that soon after the episode aired on the West Coast she had more than 1,000 Facebook friend requests pending and 700 new Twitter followers.
"It's insane," she said, admitting to being caught off-guard by the response. "The coolest reason is how people seem to be affected" by her determination to overcome her emotional challenges. "And now, oh my gosh, this girl is an inspiration."
After Tweten finished her audition, Lopez described her performance as "beautiful. . . . It brought tears to my eyes."
Said Jackson: "You've got a great voice. . . . You feel this as a singer."
Clutching that Golden Ticket to Hollywood, Tweten let loose for the camera. With more than just a touch of Norski affectation, she declared: "See you later, Minnesnowta; I'm going to be in Hollywood."
Others who earned their way to Hollywood were Jake Johnson of Roseville, Natalie Jensen of Apple Valley and Reed Grimm, a member of a Twin Cities-based band called The Shoeless Revolution.