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'Idol' hopefuls seek big break

LOUISVILLE — Despite a severe storm looming in the distance Sunday night, 17-year-old Dynasty Davidson and her sister Gaynesha Neal, 28, had no plans to leave their fold-up green chairs. Neal said it's an ideal location near where the line for American Idol auditions would begin forming in six hours at 5 a.m. They tried to get closer, but security guards told them to move.

“We just gotta tough it out,” Neal said. “We've got an umbrella if we need it.”

The two joined a group of at least 100 people waiting in the parking lot of Freedom Hall for preliminary auditions for the eighth season of the Fox reality show American Idol. Although producers told contestants that camping out would not be allowed, this group didn't seem to care.

“I'm here proudly repping the Lexington music scene,” Matthew Ward, 20, said while taking a break from playing his guitar and singing The Temptations' My Girl for camera crews with the crowd. “It's dying and I'm here to help.”

Mike Ross, 23, planned to sleep in his car for a few hours before hearing from Idol producers whether he has any talent. Ross, who drove three hours from Eaton, Ohio, said he works in a steel factory and hopes Idol could be his big break from what he called a mundane job.

“I'd rather hear ‘No' than nothing at all,” he said. “I never thought I was good enough, but I've been playing for a few years. I gotta take a risk.”

Auditions were scheduled to begin about 8 a.m. Those selected by producers to continue will be invited back for secondary auditions at Churchill Downs in September. Louisville is one of eight cities hosting auditions, and thousands are expected to try out.

Check and Tuesday's Herald-Leader for more on the auditions.