The end of the line on Fox's American Idol came Thursday night for Reston's Nate Tao.
Tao, whose solo week performance was not shown on Thursday's show, was not chosen by judges to advance closer to the Top 20 that will sing live on the show.
They did air Tao's reaction, though.
"It's not the end of the world, but it sucks," Tao said on the broadcast.
Reston Patch spoke with Tao earlier on Thursday. Here's more info on him and his happy memories of performing at Herndon High School:
Reston's Nate Tao has heard from dozens of old Northern Virginia friends the last week - ever since he made it to Hollywood Week on American Idol
Idol-watchers will learn Thursday night whether Tao, a 2006 graduate of Herndon High, will advance to the Top 20 and a spot on the live portion of the show.
Even if the road ends for Tao, 24, in Hollywood Week, Tao (who of course can't talk about upcoming results) says it has been an amazing time.
"It's been a really cool experience," he said by phone from Los Angeles, where he now lives, earlier Thursday. "I am really grateful for the love and support I have gotten from everyone."
Tao cultivated his love of all things musical in plays and chorus at Herndon High. He has been trying to make a career in music since he graduated from Ithaca College in 2010. He cut one record while still in college. He recently won an Asian-American signing competition and traveled to Singapore to record another album of original work with his songwriting partner, who lives there. He also recorded two songs for the Rock Band game soundtrack.
He had previously auditioned for The Voice and The X Factor, but never got through the early rounds, he said.
He hadn't considered Idol, but at a music competition in Iowa last year, an older man came up to him and said "You have a gift from God; You must keep singing," Tao said.
"It hit me - wow," Tao said. "It is an honor to be able to impact people that way."
The Idol auditions in LA had already passed, but the last audition date in Oklahoma City had yet to happen, so Tao booked a ticket. He eventually made three trips to Oklahoma, he says.
Tao went to the open audition with 10,000 people, then was called back twice more over a few weeks to make it to the part you see on TV - singing for judges Nikki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson.
Wednesday, viewers saw Tao make it through the first part of the exhausting Hollywood Week.
The Idol producers liked Tao's singing voice, but also his backstory - both his parents, who still live in Reston, are deaf. Tao's mom, Anni, is a software engineer at Northrop Grumman. His father, Mark, teaches science at Model Secondary School for the Deaf in Washington, DC.
Tao works in LA as a sign language teacher to help pay the bills. He says his parents have been supportive of his singing dreams.
"At first they were 'whaaat,' " Tao says. "But I really had no other aspirations once I latched onto music. I knew I wanted to do it. I will deal with the hardships later."
Is the spot on Idol the turning point? Tune in at 8 p.m Thursday on Fox . to see.
Another local singer, Maddie Assel of Centreville, advanced to Hollywood Week on American Idol too. Read about her here.
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Reston's Nate Tao Advances on 'Idol'
Catch Reston's Tao on American Idol Wednesday