When the creators of "American Idol" begin their search for the "All American Girl" Wednesday night, the East Valley will have a homegrown favorite to cheer on.
Tarah Chellevold, a 20-yearold graduate of Mesa’s Dobson High School, will be one of 45 young women from around the country competing for the title on the ABC reality TV show.
The 13-episode series will showcase dancing, sports, singing and acting. The woman with the talent, personality and charisma to stand out from the crowd will earn the title "All American Girl."
"No matter what the judges decide, Tarah really is the All-American girl because she can do it all," said her proud mother, Hertha Chellevold of Mesa. "She can sing, dance, do gymnastics, act, play the harp, she wrote a novel. Plus, she’s beautiful to boot."
For her audition at Disney’s California Adventure, Tarah Chellevold danced and sang the Whitney Houston classic "Greatest Love of All."
"I just tried to be myself, stay calm and relaxed and show the best of my abilities," she said. "I told the casting people that I thought I had a lot of the qualities and goals that an All-American girl had. I’m a hard worker. I’m dedicated and determined. I believe that we’re lucky to live in such a great country where girls have outlets to pursue all their dreams."
Chellevold, who is using the stage name Tarah Paige, brings a high-profile resumé into the competition. She graduated from high school at 15, was a nationally ranked g ymnast in her teens, appeared in "The Postman" with Kevin Costner and "Robin Cook’s Invasion" with Luke Perry, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Oklahoma in May when she was just 19.
Now, she hopes her stint on reality TV opens the eyes of casting directors looking for the next big star.
"This is a great opportunity to put my name out there and ge t some recognition," Chellevold said. "I really hope this is a springboard to the rest of my performing career. I’ll get to sing and dance on national TV. It feels good to know that America will be watching you."
What: 2-hour premiere of "All American Girl," a reality TV competition featuring 20-year-old Mesa native Tarah Chellevold
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: KNXV-TV (Channel 15)