American Idol

Erika Van Pelt

Age: 26

Hometown: South County, Rhode Island

She’s got the beats: Erika spent most of her pre-Idol time DJing.

American Idol Season 11 contestant Erika Van Pelt is a 26-year-old singer/songwriter from South County, Rhode Island. Born and Raised in Providence, Erika’s childhood was chock-full of musical experiences; her father is a trained acoustic guitarist and her mother is obsessed with Broadway show tunes, according to Erika’sofficial website. At the wee age of 7, Erika began singing solo in the adult church choir.

Erika’s love of singing has been a constant throughout her life since childhood. In high school, Erika placed first in the state for several years in a row in the Jazz Choir. Later, the blonde crooner attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying a bevy of styles of music as well as production and sound engineering.

Today, Erika has a successful career as a DJ for private events. In the summers, Erika brings her sultry altro to the sought-after wedding band The Sultans of Swing, a popular wedding band based on Martha’s Vineyard. Check out Erika’s MySpace page for a few original songs as well as some older covers — including one of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”

Erika auditioned for Season 11 in Pittsburgh, singing Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and charming judges with her plucky attitude and pastel plaid outfit. In the Season 11 semifinals, Erika belted Heart's "What About Love" and earned raves from the judges.

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