August 9, 2007

Jessica Erwin Wins Heartland Idol Title

It wasn’t Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul or Randy Jackson, but it could be someday. Jessica Erwin wasn’t singing for the three infamous judges of the national television program American Idol, but she did take a step closer to making that dream become a reality.

The local performer was named the winner of the KYOU Fox 15 Heartland Idol contest held August 4th at the Bridgeview Center in Ottumwa, IA. Irwin won a trip to the American Idol auditions at the Quest Center in Omaha on August 10th where she will be one of the performers vying for a spot on the TV program.

Jessica attended the open auditions for the program in Kirksville on July 31st. A two-judge panel selected six finalists. A second open-audition held in Ottumwa, IA on August 2 where six finalists were chosen. The dozen winners took the stage at Bridgeview in front of a four-judge panel that ultimately selected Erwin as the top performer.

The contest was open to individuals age 16-28 who had no longer than one minute to offer an a cappella vocal performance for judging at the open audition.

“We walked in, introduced our song and had 60 seconds to try to impress the judge,” said Erwin.

Her one-minute audition was enough to impress the panel and earn a spot in the finals.

“It was kind of funny, because I have been singing for so long, but my voice never has really won me anything,” Erwin said.

But she has been singing since the age of four, often performing with her father and the Harvest Band.

Jessica is the daughter of Lon and Saralyn Erwin of Bible Grove. She is a 2005 graduate of SCR-I High School. She is a past Scotland County Fair Queen, and won the Miss Northeast Missouri crown in 2005. Her vocal skills earned points in the talent portions of the events. But the Idol contest was the first time she was judged solely on her voice.

Erwin opened for Keith Anderson at the NEMO Fair, where a member of the staff encouraged her to attend the Heartland Idol tryouts.

“I thought about it a few times, but when she told me I should give it a try, I really was encouraged. Still I wasn’t sure, but she said she’d be disappointed if I didn’t go, so I started feeling the pressure to give it a try.”

Erwin is grateful she took the chance, as she now has an opportunity to take a huge step forward with her singing career.

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