'Idol' Contestant -- Applebee's Karaoke Champion

1/21/2011 8:00 AM PST
Ashley Sullivan -- the "Idol" contestant who cried her way to a golden ticket -- just so happens to be a graduate of one of the most prestigious musical institutions in the world ... the Applebee's Performance Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

TMZ has obtained video of Sullivan busting out "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent last year at a karaoke contest at The Bee -- and get this -- we're told Sullivan took home the top prize ... of $500.