Nobody wants to get too cocky, because, well, you never know how America is going to act, but on Wednesday morning (May 19), Lee DeWyze's supporters were feeling pretty bullish about the former paint-store clerk's chances of making it to the "American Idol" finale next week.
"Seriously? What can I say, but unbelievable!" said Amy Silverman, Lee's close friend and former teacher at Forest View Alternative school, which the 24-year-old singer attended after dropping out of his more traditional high school. "He is truly the greatest that has ever been on that stage, and he proved that last night with 'Simple Man' and 'Hallelujah'! We had over 500 people that filled the entire restaurant/bar. Goose bumps and tears were flowing throughout the entire place."
Silverman said she could not stop shedding tears of pride and joy at seeing how far the onetime troubled teen has come. "The thing about Lee is, he touches every single person that listens to him ... from 5-year-olds to 85-year-olds. ... There is no doubt in my mind, and never has been, that this kid is going to the finale, and I am honored to be able to be there, watching with pride and excitement!"
Brian Friedopfer, an old friend of Lee's who has watched his pal sing "Simple Man" for years in karaoke bars and at shows, said he was shaking for an hour after Tuesday night's show. "I was just so happy for him. It's about time," Friedopfer said of watching the breakout performance night he knew was coming from his friend. "I was speechless. My wife and I were watching [the 'Hallelujah' cover] together, and we looked at each other and were like, 'Wow!' We rewound it and watched it again and said, 'Holy crap!' I've never heard him sing that song, and I was a bit worried about it when he told me that Simon chose it for him."
But Lee reassured Friedopfer that he could tackle the iconic Leonard Cohen tune that has famously been covered by everyone from the late Jeff Buckley to former "Idol" contestants Jason Castro and Tim Urban. "Before he started, I was really nervous, but as soon as he started singing, I was like, 'Wow.' I couldn't believe it," he said. "When I was in Los Angeles during Elvis Week, he joked that at some point, he would have a full choir behind him for one song, and of course, he pulled it out the week before the finale!"
The performances left Friedopfer convinced that Lee will make it to the finale — well, assuming America wasn't so blown away they forgot to vote. "He should be there, but it's anybody's game, because people are finicky," he said. "Especially since they basically crowned him last night, he might have lost votes because of that. But people like an underdog, and it would be a shame if he wasn't in the finale."
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