'American Idol': 15-year-old Ava August of Laguna Niguel talks about advancing to Top 12

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (KABC) -- At just 15-years-old, Laguna Niguel resident Ava August is the youngest competitor on "American Idol" this season -- and she's left the judges stunned after every performance.

"You make me forget 15, completely. You are singing like an absolute pro," said judge Lionel Richie on a recent episode.

ABC7 caught up with Ava and her family now that she's advanced to the Top 12 -- something that's made her grateful for the people who have been rooting for her since day one.

"My entire community, my friends, my family, my school, just everyone in my area voting for me and all of the support I've been getting and receiving, it's just been so insane," she said.

ABC7 first met her a couple years ago when she performed at our Spark of Love toy drive, hanging out with our own George Pennacchio and spreading joy.
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"I'm always gonna do that -- that's the type of person I am. I love supporting causes and things I believe in," Ava said.

Now, the high school freshman is one step closer to achieving her dreams.

"It started off as like, OK, why don't we just try doing this. Like let's just see what happens, it's a great experience, even just to go and do this type of audition," said her mom, Amy Zaharek.

"I'm the luckiest dad on earth. This is great. She makes me proud all the time when I see her singing and I know that she moves other people just like she moves me," said her dad, Zachary Zaharek.

"I'm just so happy for her. Like this has been a dream for so long, singing, so it makes me so happy to see her so happy," said her sister, Regan Zaharek.

Ava can't thank them enough for all the sacrifices they've made to allow her to do this.

"It's so special and I'm so thankful to have such an amazing family and I love all of them so much."
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