You might guess from the way she tears into songs on "American Idol" that Allison Iraheta is not the shy type. Her prodigious talent is not surprising, given that she's been singing most of her life.
But her strong run on the show was somewhat of a surprise to her high school pals at Los Angeles' Animo Ralph Bunche Charter High School, who described her as very outgoing but not in-your-face about her talent.
When Iraheta came to the school as a freshman, Bobby Vega sat next to her in English class and noticed right away that Iraheta, 16, was not the quiet type. "We'll be sitting in class, and if she's bored, she'll just scream something," said Vega, who plays drums in a band Iraheta has sat in with on occasion. "Instead of asking someone, 'Give me a pencil,' [she'll yell] 'Give me a pencil!' "
Vega said the entire school got pumped as soon as they heard Iraheta was going to be on the show, and every day after her performances, the hallways are buzzing with talk about how she did and how many times each student voted for her.
Ruth Rosas bonded with Iraheta a few years ago when they shared a car ride to school (and some chocolate), and she said Iraheta was actually kind of shy about singing in front of friends at first. "She would never want us to hear her sing or she would never want to sing or anything," Rosas said.
What's funny to friends like Lisbet Mereacadl is that the Allison they know — who is bold, brash and loud and likes to sing in silly voices — has been, aside from her performances, kind of quiet on the show. "I don't know why she doesn't show that on the stage, but I guess she eventually will," she said.
For now, Rosas, who like Vega has been texting with Iraheta while she's been on the show, said while she loves watching and voting (over 100 times so far), she misses hanging out with her friend. "We miss her presence here, because she's so outgoing," she said. "In every class, she would bring, like, joy to the class. She'd make something boring into something really funny. She was just very enthusiastic about everything."
Allison's sister, Sarah Iraheta, who is a teacher at the school, has also been trying to get the student body excited about Iraheta's run on the show, with a little help from principal Xochitl Avellan, who recently attended a viewing party thrown by Iraheta's family.
"We had students, teachers and parents supporting her," she said. "It's our pride to see her where she is. We know she's going to get far. ... I know I'm going to see her in the finals, and I'll be there rooting for her, as will her peers. ... Americans, it is our opportunity to see a Latina, a young, beautiful lady up on the top as the next 'American Idol.' "
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.