Chicago "Idol" Sings His Way Into Simon's Heart

Mt. Prospect Singer Looking for His Big Break

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Lee DeWyze’s Wednesday performance on Fox’s “American Idol” earned him praise from the often-curmudgeonly Simon Cowell.

    “I thought this was the best performance by far,” said Cowell after DeWyze finished his rendition of “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol.  “He has an authentically good voice.  I think you’ll do well in this competition.”

    High praise indeed from the judge not easily impressed.  Amy Silverman, DeWyze’s former high school teacher wasn’t surprised by Simon’s high marks.  She was one of two people DeWyze invited to be in the audience during his performance Wednesday.  DeWyze was Silverman’s student when he attended Forest View Alternative School.  DeWyze also attended Prospect High School reports the Daily Herald.

    “He always had a guitar in his hand,” said Silverman, who is a native of California.  “He would make up songs off the top of his head, pretty funny songs.”

    For the 23-year-old DeWyze, the road to becoming one of 24 Idol finalists wasn’t easy.  In fact, it’s a road he could have easily never been on in the first place.  "I got kicked out of high school, but that's totally not who I am now," DeWyze said in his Idol audition tape.

    DeWyze also never took a music lesson; he’s a self-taught musician who for the past two years crafted his style at Potato Creek Johnny’s Saloon and Grill in Glenview during their weekly karaoke night.

    "Not too many people bring their own instrument to the bar," said John Coyne, owner of Extreme Karaoke. "Every time he played, his friends loved it. He really hammed it up on the guitar and sometimes he'd play some of his original stuff."

    His Karoake night practices payed off, DeWyze has performed at Chicago’s House of Blues, Durty Nellie’s in Palatine, and at Naperville’s ribfest.

    The Mount Prospect resident has a lot riding on the outcome of idol.  He quit his job at a local paint store and lost the lease to his apartment.  "I totally know this is what I'm supposed to do," said DeWyze. "There is no backup plan for me."

    Will  DeWyze get to go on?  That's a decision Idol fans get to make.  He learns his fate Thursday night.