Going for gold: Local woman tried again for American Idol

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By Whitney Harrod

While she may not have received the "golden ticket," one Shelbyville resident recently attempted to make her singing dreams come true.

The "golden ticket" is a yellow piece of paper signifying advancement to the next round of auditions of the hit television show, American Idol.

Lisa Vest, a 23-year-old Commonwealth Bank employee, packed her bags (well maybe just her purse and singing essentials) for a 5 a.m. trip to Louisville.

This is the first year the show has held auditions in the state of Kentucky. Louisville was the second audition stop out of seven other locations. Like Vest, hopefuls came from all around the United States. One woman even flew all the way to Louisville from Africa.

The show, in its eighth season, is a singing competition that awards the last standing contestant with a $1 million recording contract. The top 12 contestants also embark on a city-to-city concert tour. Last year, David Cook from Blue Springs, Mo., was awarded the season seven title.

Vest, a singer/song writer who has already released a single in Nashville, Tenn., joined about 10,000 other American Idol hopefuls at Freedom Hall on July 21. Out of the 10,000 individuals that auditioned in front of the show's producers, only 200 were chosen to return for round two of auditions to be held in August at Churchill Downs. There, those contestants will perform in front of the household names of Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.

After waiting for more than two hours in line, Vest joined a group of three other contestants to sing 'You're No Good' by Linda Ronstadt, in front of a panel of producers.

"The auditions were tough," Vest said. "But, I thought I got it because I was the only one in the group that got to sing my song all the way through."

Auditioning for talent television shows is not new to Vest. She auditioned for season six of American Idol at the Nashville, Tenn. location. And, last March she tried her luck for Nashville Star and advanced far enough to meet Anastasia, one of the show's judges at the time.

One reason why Vest thought she did not get chosen was because she was too young and may not have represented the image the show was looking for. She said her biggest musical flaw is that she can't proficiently play a musical instrument.

"There's many people that can carry a tune, but don't have that uniqueness that American Idol wants," Vest said. "I've been told I have a unique sound somewhere between Dolly Parton and Allison Krauss."

Already ahead of many people that are trying to get noticed in the country music world, Vest has written a gospel-sounding song that has been played on a Christian radio station in Nashville.

Vest plans to release a bluegrass/country album in the near future and eventually move to Nashville.