Meet the 16-Year-Old Galloway 'Idol' Hopeful, Mara Justine

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GALLOWAY, NJ – After a two-year hiatus American Idol is back and one local contestant is giving it her all in hopes of going all the way.

“I feel like I’ve been singing all my life kind of. My mom always says that I used to sing in her belly,” said Mara Justine, a 16-year-old Galloway native.

She’s been singing in local competitions since she was eight years old.

“I know I was young at the time, but I feel like I knew, even then, that I really loved to be on stage,” said Justine.

And now, just 16, she’s taking that love to the next level as she takes a leap and auditions for American Idol.

“These are idols of mine. You know, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Ritchie, these are people that I’ve looked up to my whole life and to think that I’d be auditioning in front of that, that’s just crazy,” said Justine.

On a cold day up in New York this past October she put her nerves aside and did just that.

“I remember just when the music started … I remember just taking a deep breath and saying okay Mar you got this,” said Justine.

After waiting for hours on end at the New York audition she left it all on the line with her rendition of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain.”

“To have them stand up for me, it was very humbling and very beautiful. It really was because it was all I ever wanted and all I ever dreamed of,” said Justine.

And just like that she got the golden ticket to Hollywood.

"I can’t thank the judges, I can’t thank American Idol enough because this is my dream and they truly made my dreams come true that day,” said Justine.

But that dream isn’t over just yet, the 16-year-old now has to fight it out during Hollywood week.

“Hollywood week, this is go time. this is when it starts. This is when all the talent comes out and this when everyone gets really, really hungry for it,” said Justine.

From South Jersey to Hollywood, we’ll have to wait to see just how far this talented teen goes. 

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