It's the dream of a lifetime for many singers: to win the title of "American Idol.
Today the show's cast of famous judges came back to Omaha to decide who's heading on to L.A.
After months of waiting, less than half of the talented contestants from round 1 have made it to the stage before the judges. But with new and old faces at the chambers, will these Midwest contenders have what it takes?
Judge Keith Urban doesn't seem to have too many doubts, if the contestants bring that special something.
"It's what I'm feeling for-- that thing where I just go, I'm captivated by this performance. And like Harry(fellow Idol judge Harry Connick Jr.) says, there's so many things that can do that. It could be the voice. It could be the look. It could be the style, could be the sound, could be the tone, could be song choice-- who knows," said the veteran judge.
One of the hopefuls who auditioned Monday has been down this road a few times before, and he thinks the 4th time is the charm.
"I'm not really good at anything else. I've been singing since I was 7 years old. I've had police jobs, I've worked for factories, I worked for Pizza Hut, Subway, all these different places, and out of every single one the only job that I've done that I go to and it doesn't feel like a job is music," said Christopher Jones of Missouri.
Another contender is 16-year-old Dani Heikkiln of Newton, IA, who was featured as FOX News' up and coming American Idol. Her voice could be the next big thing.
"My hopes and dreams are just to inspire people and to understand that you can do whatever you want, cause life is short," said Heikkiln.
While life may be short, the list of contestants isn't.
Active military servicewoman Paula Hunt isn't too worried; she sung before American heroes, and is ready.
"I get to do what I love on a daily basis. I've been waiting so, you know, I'm ready to do it. You know, I want to know what they think of me and um, anxiety has really replaced nerves at this point," Hunt said.
Ultimately, the contestants will come from the judge's panel with either a golden ticket to Hollywood or a ticket back home, but to find out who makes the cut... you'll have to watch in January.
Sioxuland News did catch a sneak peak of this year's season opener and we can tell you this season will take you by surprise.So don't forget to tune in January for the premiere... and when Siouxland News reporter Beairshelle will tell you if the 3 contestants above get to Hollywood.BEdme@siouxlandnews.com