American Idol runner up, Crystal Lake native Grace Kinstler on transformative experience

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- 'Amazing Graze' Kinstler may have been second runner up on American Idol, but the Crystal Lake native is first in the hearts of many.

"Through this entire competition I've just kind of been at peace with whatever happens," she said of hearing she would not be in the top two. "I was so glad I got to that point, I got to go home and see my family and see everybody who's been supporting me the whole way through. I didn't feel like I lost."

"Now that American Idol has ended, this is where the hard work begin," Kinstler added.

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Now she's transitioning from a world of sequins and sparkle back to normal.

"The wardrobe team was amazing," she said. "It was so cool. I had never worked with people who were like 'Let's make you feel good and let's make you look good.' They were so ready to work with my body and that was amazing for me; I've never had that before.

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Kim Scherrer, Grace Kinstler's mentor and former choir teacher, recalls what the American Idol star was like back in high school.

And the trip home to Crystal Lake was both gratifying and humbling too.

"I just feel so loved and I'm so grateful," she said. "I can't believe this many people came and showed up, I didn't even know Crystal Lake had that many people."

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"Some people are going to like you and some people aren't gonna like you, but you have to focus on the people that love you and have supported you," Kinstler added. "And you have to use that to fuel you. Do it for them, do it for the people who have always believed in you. I just want to sing to people. The hometown concert was everything I ever wanted."

WATCH | Hundreds attend Grace Kinstler's homecoming celebration in Crystal Lake
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"American Idol" finalist Grace Kinstler returned home to Illinois for a special celebration in her honor in Crystal Lake and Lakewood.

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