As if to prove she doesn't need "American Idol" to boost her career, Minneapolis singer Sophia Shorai was on stage performing at the Dakota Jazz Club on Thursday even as she officially ended her stint on the Fox TV show.
Shorai, 28, made a dazzling "Idol" entrance last week via a Milwaukee audition taped last summer, in which she sang "Georgia on My Mind." On Wednesday's episode from Las Vegas, however, she and duet partner Ashley Sullivan earned a poor reaction from the judges for their version of the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out." Said Randy Jackson, "It was not hot today."
Sullivan was ousted on air Wednesday, but Shorai's fate was not fully revealed in that telecast. Postings on her Facebook page on Thursday confirmed that she is not among the final 24 contestants going to Hollywood and she didn't appear on Thursday's episode.
Steeped in jazz and pop, Shorai has had several winning moments in a career that started long before her brief "Idol" run, including landing first place in a 2003 local Grammy-sponsored competition. More recently, she landed commercials for State Farm and Target -- the latter, ironically, featuring another Beatles cover, "Hello, Goodbye."
Her appearance on "Idol" was no surprise to local fans, but it did raise headlines over the little-known fact that her mom is Sara Jane Olson, otherwise known as paroled Symbionese Liberation Army member Kathleen Soliah. Shorai shares the last name of her father, Fred Peterson, and uses her middle name professionally.
Shorai said offstage on Thursday that she could not talk about "Idol," and didn't mention the TV show in the first of two Dakota sets.
But it looks as if Shorai plans to continue singing: She is booked March 31 at Barbette and April 24 at the Aster Cafe.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658