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Originally published January 26, 2011 at 10:09 PM | Page modified January 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM

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Seattle native Molly DeWolf Swenson: From intern to 'Idol'

Twenty-two-year-old Molly DeWolf Swenson — a Seattle native and graduate of Garfield High School — sang her way onto "American Idol" with a polished rendition of "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay" at auditions in Milwaukee last summer. The audition aired Wednesday night. Swenson is also a Harvard grad and White House intern.

Seattle Times A&E editor

Tonight in Prime Time

Molly DeWolf Swenson: Seattle native, Harvard graduate, White House intern and now ... "American Idol" contestant.

The accomplished 22-year-old sang her way onto the Fox reality-TV show with a polished rendition of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." Her audition, recorded last summer in Milwaukee, aired Wednesday night.

Judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson were clearly impressed by the tall blonde singer, a graduate of Seattle's Garfield High School.

"You got attitude; you know where to put it," Tyler told her. "I think you're terrific."

Swenson also got the judges' attention by calling out Jackson for inadvertently smacking her in the face earlier in the day, when he was moving through a crowd of auditioners — a faux pas that had been captured on videotape. The incident was replayed several times in Wednesday night's episode.

The judges voted unanimously to send her through to the first round of the competition in Hollywood.

"American Idol" airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.

Lynn Jacobson:

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