American Idol semifinalist and Philadelphia native Nicole Tranquillo started singing at age five and took piano lessons in kindergarten, but didn't begin formal vocal training until she was 12. After appearing in high-school productions during her teen years, Tranquillo attended Philadelphia's University of the Arts as a voice major and also performs in the group Soul School. Though she tried to audition for American Idol's second season in New York City, she had to go home when police cut off the line of potential contestants before she could sing. She made it through to season six's Memphis auditions, however, and became one of 24 semifinalists. Tranquillo left the show in the first elimination round on February 22, 2007.