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While disappointed, Rohnert Park performer says she'll try again next summer


Carmina Salcido won't be the next "American Idol." She won't be following in the musical footsteps of Kelly Clarkson or Fantasia or Carrie Underwood or Jordin Sparks. At least not yet.

Carmina knew a few months ago what we all learned after the airing of "American Idol's" San Francisco auditions Wednesday night. Her "Idol" dream ended in a San Francisco hotel.

"Idol" producers decided not to air her story.

"I was shocked, I thought I was gonna make it through" to the Hollywood round, Salcido said. "I was sure I was gonna get a golden ticket. I was disappointed. I felt like crying. But I hate showing emotion on the camera. Ryan (Seacrest, the show's host) looked disappointed for me. Inside I was holding back tears.

"But I know what to work on for next time, definitely. Projecting my voice."

She plans to re-enter the competition again next summer. The 24-year-old Rohnert Park resident still fits into the show's age restrictions, which top out at age 28.

Carmina had brought her voice and her well-documented back story to the initial "Idol" stage at AT&T Park in August. After a 15-hour day, during which she actually sang for maybe two minutes, she was exhausted but satisfied with her effort.

"We were in groups of four and I sat there from 7 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m., when we were finally called down to sing. But earlier my name was called out over the loudspeaker to go down to the field in front of the dugout. I didn't know what that was all about, but I was told I was gonna be interviewed by Ryan Seacrest. That lasted maybe 3-4 minutes and then we went back to our seats."

It all paid off a few hours later after Carmina sang "Ave Maria," and then, "White Flag" by Dido.

"We went down (to the field) in groups of four and I sang second. You sing and then you simply step back," Carmina explained. "The judges were show producers. They said, 'You are through (to the next round.)' They didn't know me, but they gave me a 10. It was cool because it was honest and they got me through cause they liked what they heard."

What those judges apparently didn't know about Carmina, was her story of survival. Twenty-two years ago, her father, Ramon Salcido, murdered seven people, including her mother and two sisters. Then Carmina, who was just a toddler, survived having her throat slit. She was found in a county garbage dump next to the bodies of her two sisters.

Music became an outlet for her, as did writing. She chronicled her life's journey in a book, "Not Lost Forever," that was published a year ago.

In August, she was one of about 450 out of 9,200 contestants who made it past round one.

That led to stage two a couple of weeks later in San Francisco at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel on Union Square. She performed the same songs in front of "Idol" producer Nigel Lythgoe.

"I sang the same songs in front of him," Salcido said. "He liked them, but he said they weren't powerful enough."

She was invited back to the hotel in front of the judges, and that's when her dream ended.