Kasey Vann's eyes light up as she talks about traveling to Charleston, South Carolina, to audition for "American Idol" back in August.
It had been a longtime dream to try out for the show, which ended its 15-year run on the Fox network in April 2016.
The Southern Wayne High School junior was admittedly "crushed" by that news but simply transferred her energies into auditioning for another competition, "America's Got Talent."
She made it through the first round of competition last February, at the same venue in Charleston.
So when the announcement came out that "American Idol" was returning to the airwaves March 11, this time on ABC, Vann readied herself for the opportunity. She submitted the requisite video and was invited to try out.
For those who believe in signs, there were several good ones going in -- from hearing her audition song on the radio, "Jesus Take the Wheel," made popular by former "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood, to seeing a rainbow while standing in line for the tryout.
She arrived early, around 7 a.m., she said, and watched as the crowd swelled with other potential contestants.
There was the check-in phase, where each person was processed and received a blue wristband.
When the line finally moved inside, they were divided into groups before being escorted into individual audition areas in front of show representatives.
"You didn't go to another room," she said. "You went to another table. There were about eight people in each group and you had everyone singing at one time.
"It was very hard to hear myself. And it was loud in there."
Reflecting on it earlier last week, she shared the myriad of emotions that surfaced during the process.
"I was worried. I was stressed and worried," she said. "I was scared. I was panicking but I was excited, everything all at one time.
In actuality, the preliminary session actually went pretty quickly, she says now.
"When it was my turn to sing, I sang maybe about 30 seconds of the song, then went back to my spot," she said.
Shortly after those in her group finished, they were gathered together for the results.
It wasn't the news she had hoped for, she admitted.
"They told us, 'I'm sorry, not this year. Make sure you come back and try again, but some of you were pitchy, it just wasn't there today,'" she said. "So we had to cut our wristbands off because if we kept our wristbands on, that meant we were going to the next stage."
"I didn't see anyone that kept theirs on," said her mother, Kim Holloman.
The competition is definitely intense, but as anyone who watches the show knows, gets whittled down quickly as producers are looking for that "next 'American Idol,'" Vann said.
And while this may not be her year, instead of interpreting the news as the end of the road, her takeaway can be summed up in two words -- next time.
She definitely plans to return, she says, and is taking to heart the advice she received and the benefits of the opportunity.
"I would say just maybe try a different song, something more (current)," she said. "The way I was thinking about it or the process was starting out with a song you think everybody would know.
"Then, if you get past that song, go with a more modern song and keep going from there. Next time when I go I'm going to plan on just doing the main chorus of it instead of starting out from the beginning."
Holloman, a teacher at Grantham Middle School, remains unabashedly proud of her eldest.
"I thought she did great," she said.
Kasey, meanwhile, is working on improving her visibility on social media and honing her vocal talents, at least locally -- responding to invitations to sing the national anthem at different events and performing at churches.
One outlet that has provided several occasions to do that is through her participation in the Grantham Grange. She won a contest at the local and state level and in November was runner-up for the national grange conference in Spokane, Washington.
Kasey said she still plans to tune in to "American Idol."
She is as enthusiastic about the show, and her future, as ever, she says.
"It was a good experience," she said. "It was very much a dream come true, basically -- to actually be able to go to that stage of the (competition) because that was the second stage. The first one was you had to send in a video and then they would tell you if you could come to that, which would be the second stage."
"American Idol" airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC.