When Sierra Harris was about 5 years old, she watched Jordin Sparks on “American Idol.”
She was hooked.
A fan of powerhouse singers like season 1 “Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson — “Her season was the year I was born” — Harris was singing “as soon as I was talking.” Before that, she says, “I was humming.”
Watching the juggernaut show as “a little kid, you’re like: This is the ultimate challenge,” Harris, 20, said. “I’d watched it for so long that I thought: This is it. This is the be-all, end-all. If I could be on that, it would start my journey.”
Her journey begins Sunday.
A Lexington native whose family now lives in Newburyport, Harris’s “Idol” audition airs March 26 on ABC at 8 p.m. Her audition for season 21 of the Ryan Seacrest-hosted show was filmed previously in Nashville in front of judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and — a singer she grew up watching — Katy Perry.
While she can’t reveal what she sang, you can get a sense of her chops on TikTok and Instagram, including a powerful cover of Etta James’s “At Last.”
The 2020 Newburyport High School grad is a personal trainer who has also “taken some music classes at Berklee for a voice technique and musicianship certification.”
She has two original songs posted to social media, and performs in a Maine-area band, Clockwork — though they’re in the midst of changing that name, she said.
One of six daughters born to Jeffrey and Lynne Harris of Newburyport, Harris grew up performing.
“My parents used to own a snack bar at Hayden Ice Arena in Lexington. I’d sing the national anthem for the hockey games” including her own, the former hockey player said.
Around age 5, she started singing in Christmas shows with the Lexington Players. Performing “felt like I was in a dream. When I was on the stage, I felt like I was the only person in the room, almost. It’s hard to explain. I felt it through my fingers and my toes. Every time I get on stage, I feel the most at home.”
At age 10, she started performing in musical theater through Curtain Call Productions at Point Sebago Resort in Casco, Maine, near her family’s summer home, she said. She scored her first big role, starring in “Annie.”
She first auditioned for “Idol” in Boston at age 15 — the minimum age requirement. She tried again the following year in Washington, D.C., and subsequent years virtually because of COVID. The fifth time was the charm.
“I actually got reached out to — they found me on social media, because I sing on TikTok and Instagram and Facebook,” Harris said. “They set me up with the executive producers, and that same day, they said that I was going to go on the show. Which is crazy.”
On Sunday, we’ll see the fruits of her labors.
“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking,” she said of the filmed audition. “I’ve been waiting my entire life for this moment.”
Lauren Daley can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @laurendaley1.
Lauren Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.