When Haley Reinhart was a kid catching concerts around town, she'd look at the stage with the certainty that one day she'd be up there too.
"I'm not gonna lie, that was always the goal," the Wheeling native said. "I'd be looking at my favorite pop princesses like Christina and Britney and think that's going to be me. That's what I want to do."
Idols Live! TourWhen: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6
Where: Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont
Tickets: $45-$65; available at the Allstate Arena box office and ticketmaster.com
Can't make it to the show? Catch Haley Reinhart at 9 a.m. today on "Windy City Live" on ABC 7
Reinhart will make good on that promise Saturday night when she and the rest of the Top 11 Idols take the stage at the Allstate Arena as part of their cross-country tour.
It's been a hectic summer for Reinhart, who finished in third place on the 10th season of "American Idol." Tour rehearsals started immediately after the finale. She said things have been so crazy, she's looking forward to coming home just so she can relax with her family and friends.
On top of the tour, 19 Recordings/Interscope confirmed last week that Reinhart has landed a record deal with the label.
But she's in no hurry to rush out an album. She said she'd rather do her homework and let the ideas percolate so the record sounds as much like her as possible.
"I know I always mention these ladies, but Corrine Bailey Rae, Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding, that jazzy, bluesy kind of direction is where I live," she said.
In fact, Reinhart has enlisted the help of duet partner and fellow "Idol" finalist Casey Abrams to get her started. "I have a bunch of melodies and lyrics I've been playing around with that Casey has given me chord structure for," she said. "We have a really similar old-school jazz sensibility so we work awesome together."
And she promises to keep the growl that "Idol" fans loved.
As far as other dreams for the record go, Reinhart said she wants to write as much of it herself as possible and she'd kill to get her musical family involved too.
"My mom has a great voice, my dad can really jam and my sister is already writing amazing music so why wouldn't I want them on the album?"
Other than starting work on the record, Reinhart said she's enjoyed seeing the country this summer and can't wait to travel to Canada (where she'll celebrate her 21st birthday on Sept. 9).
Nashville was a favorite city because of the eclectic shopping and its rich musical history, but the stop Reinhart has had circled on her calendar is Saturday's visit to Rosemont.
She performed at Arlington Park on her hometown visit during "Idol" top three week, but she said she's been looking forward to the Allstate Arena date all summer.
"It will be super cool to come home and sing in front of my fans, friends and family," she said. "All of the other Idols' hometown shows have been really memorable so I can't wait for mine."
Reinhart said she makes an effort to change up her solo and group performances each night because it's less boring that way, and "I'm not a boring kind of girl."
The show's set list is pretty rigid, but Reinhart said she might try to throw in a few surprises for her homecoming.
Any possibility her dad Harry -- who so memorably riffed on guitar during Haley's "Idol" rendition of the Led Zeppelin classic "What Is And What Should Never Be" -- could join her onstage Saturday?
"You know that would be incredible and I think I'm going to ask my guys here," she said. "You never know."