Lee DeWyze fans are early and they're loud.
About 200 bright neon T-shirt wearing DeWyze fans packed the Blues Bar in downtown Mount Prospect on Tuesday well before the show started.
"I've been following Idol forever," said Mount Prospect resident Lara Kowalski, who came to the bar with her two boys, ages 8 and 11 years old. "I definitely think Lee is going to win this year. He's got that 'David Cook' look."
"And he's so cute," Dawn Byrne added.
Bill Lagattolla, the owner of the Mount Prospect Paint store and DeWyze's former employer, couldn't walk across the room without being stopped by several people. He called the scene pure craziness.
Before the show started, people swapped DeWyze buttons and sold T-shirts including the new "Be-Lee-ive" version. But when DeWyze took the stage on the jumbo television, the bar froze and you could hear the drinks being poured. Kids pumped their fists and jumped up and down while DeWyze belted out Seal's "Kiss from a Rose."
"He seems like such a wonderful kid," said Debbi DeVeirman, of Mount Prospect. "Maybe he didn't have it so great in high school but he really turned it around."
DeWyze, 24, attended both Prospect and Forest View high schools but didn't graduate from either.
Not that it mattered to DeWyze's most loyal fans who stood in the front row to get the best view of his performance.
"He's really good, so good," said Lilli Fleming, an 11-year-old from Mount Prospect.
"And he tried his best," added Lana Korf, 12.
"I think Lee did just great," said Kate Zardzin, 12, with a hint of sadness. "I don't understand why the judges said what they said."
For a moment, the girls exchanged looks and considered the possibility that DeWyze's Idol run could end this week. Thankfully another friend quickly ended the tense moment.
"Fries are here!" she said.