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He's in! DeWyze cracks 'Idol' top three; party Friday
Arlington Park festivities sell out in 12 minutes
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff

Lee DeWyze

Lee DeWyze is officially one of the top three "American Idol" contestants.


Associated Press file

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Published: 5/12/2010 9:02 PM | Updated: 5/13/2010 11:16 AM

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Where to buy your Lee DeWyze gear

• Mount Prospect Paints, 500 W. Northwest Hwy., Mount Prospect; (847) 255-5893. T-shirts: $10-$20; baseball hats: $20.

• Real Deals, 117 S. Emerson St., Mount Prospect; (847) 342-1551. T-Shirts: $5-$10; wristbands: $1; buttons: $1.

• Blues Bar, 2 W. Busse Ave., Mount Prospect; (847) 788-9977. CDs: $10; pins: $1; T-shirts: $10.

• Capannari Ice Cream, 10 S. Pine St., Mount Prospect; (847) 392-2277. T-Shirts: $10; bumper stickers: Free with T-shirt purchase; buttons: $3; car flags: $10.

• Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce, 107 S. Main St., Mount Prospect; (847) 398-6616. T-shirts: $10; bumper stickers: $3; car flags: $10.

* All sales are non-profit.

Mt. Prospect opens Lee DeWyze hotline

Mount Prospect has set up a hotline for fans looking for the latest news on Friday's "Lee DeWyze Hometown Celebration." Call (847) 870-6622 for a recorded message with details on the day's public events. Information is also posted on Mount Prospect's website,

Get ready, Mount Prospect.

After Wednesday's "American Idol" vote, Lee DeWyze is officially one of the top three contestants, which means on Friday, his hometown will be hosting a daylong celebration and thousands of DeWyze fans.

After Ryan Seacrest announced he made the cut, DeWyze crossed the Idol stage, hugged his parents, Lee Sr. and Kathy and whispered "I love you guys."

Casey James and Crystal Bowersox join DeWyze in the top three and will get hometown parades of their own Friday. James, 27, will head home to Fort Worth, Texas while Bowersox, 24, will fly off to Ellison, Ohio.

Michael "Big Mike" Lynche isn't as lucky. Although the judges used their only save to rescue the soulful 26-year-old personal trainer and father from Queens, N.Y., in April, he was voted off the show Wednesday night.

Before the results were announced, Seacrest asked the final four what they thought after watching footage of past hometown celebrations, which include parades and throngs of screaming fans.

"I want that to be me," said DeWyze. "I want the chance to say thank you to all the people who have been so supportive and to sit in my parents' living room and have a conversation without any cameras."

Despite the wish, cameras will be following DeWyze most of Friday.

Although his schedule is still being finalized, DeWyze, 24, will probably head to Wrigley Field to throw out the first pitch at the 1:20 p.m. Cubs game after making stops at Fox, several radio shows and an AT&T store.

From Wrigley, DeWyze will head to the Northwest suburbs for a private stop at a District 214 school that will not be open to the public before kicking off a parade at 4:30 p.m. along Northwest Highway between Route 83 and Central Road.

From there, it's over to the Arlington Park, where DeWyze will perform three songs in an hourlong concert starting around 6:30 p.m. Horse racing Friday will start at 1 p.m. instead of 3 p.m. and wrap up around 5 p.m. to make room for the concert.

It took exactly 12 minutes for Lee DeWyze fans to gobble up all of the free Arlington Park concert tickets on Wednesday.

"They went fast," said Arlington Spokesman Dave Zenner. "Obviously there are a lot of Lee DeWyze and American Idol fans out there. As soon as the tickets were made available, they were gone."

The free tickets were available as soon at American Idol ended at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Twelve minutes later, not only were all of the free tickets gone, but so were the box and reserve seats people could buy to watch the races early Friday. Track officials will allow people who bought tickets to stay for DeWyze's mini-concert, which is expected to start at 6:30 p.m. and last about an hour.

In total, about 30,000 tickets were either sold or given away for Friday. There will be no more tickets made available, Zenner said.

"It's going to be a great day," he said. "We're really excited."

Zenner isn't sure yet if those who were able to get tickets are from Mount Prospect or from out of town.

No one without a ticket will be allowed in.

Past "Idol" events across the U.S. have drawn between 5,000 and 20,000 people. Both Mount Prospect and Arlington Park officials are encouraging fans to use Metra, since both the parade route and racetrack are at train stops.

Despite the rush to plan the event, Mount Prospect Mayor Irvana Wilks is thrilled to host Friday's celebration.

"The enthusiasm for Lee DeWyze has been remarkable," she said. "We do wish him the best as he continues his journey as our American Idol."

For DeWyze spottings on Friday, check twitter/LeeDeWyzeDay