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ALEX PRESTON 

NH 'Idol' challenger to sing in show's final 8 tonight


NASHUA — Alex Preston, a young musician from Mont Vernon who is describes himself as shy and awkward, is continuing to make big noise on the "American Idol" stage.

Preston, whose real name is Alex Preston Philbrick, is now one of the top eight contestants in the singing competition.

Helping to support the New Hampshire native, Chunky's Cinema in Nashua is opening its doors for a big screen "American Idol" viewing party every Wednesday night while Preston remains in the competition.

Admission is free.

The public is encouraged to attend at 8 tonight, although the doors will open one hour before the show begins.

The remaining eight contestants will take the stage to perform the songs they originally showed the judges during their auditions last year.

Preston, a Souhegan High School graduate who has already secured a spot on the television show's summer concert tour, will sing an original song that received positive feedback from all three judges the first time around.

Preston has become a household name at this point in the competition, known for his signature rolled-up pants, talented guitar playing and consistent vocals.

The 20-year-old musician said his shyness won't stop him from pursuing his dream.

"People always ask why I am so quiet. The quieter I become, the more I can hear," Preston tweeted to his fans recently.

During a break from the show in February, Preston performed at his old stomping ground, Souhegan High School, where he encouraged the student body to work hard and never give up on their dreams.

"It is good. It is a lot of fun so far," Preston told the New Hampshire Union Leader recently. He said the "American Idol" experience has been amazing, describing it as an educational opportunity of a lifetime.

"You get to meet all of these people who are doing the same things as you and have the same dream as you," he said.

Preston took the time to thank his support network and fans — especially those in New Hampshire.

"That is what is keeping me going," he said at the time.

The bottom three vote-getters will be announced at 9 p.m. Thursday, and one more contestant will be sent home from the competition.

khoughton@newstote.com

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