East Palestine student Hollywood-bound

EAST PALESTINE — The third time was the charm for an “American Idol” hopeful from East Palestine.

Sarah Burgess was told she was Hollywood-bound after her audition for the Fox television show was broadcast Wednesday night.

Mahoning Valley residents were surprised to see Burgess on the show. But probably no more surprised than her parents were in August, when they learned their daughter went to New York to audition. She had told them that she was spending a couple of days at a friend’s house in Ohio.

Burgess had unsuccessfully tried out twice before, once in Cleveland and once in Chicago. On Wednesday’s broadcast, she shared her story with host Ryan Seacrest, telling of how she wanted to make her parents — who hadn’t wanted her to try again — proud.

She was successful in her audition before Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and guest judge Carole Bayer Sager, receiving her ticket to Hollywood.

Clad in a red T-shirt that read “Third Time’s A Charm” and emotional about lying to her parents, any possible bitterness from the often-cruel judges thawed before she started her rendition of Blondie’s “Call Me.”

Even the normally callous Cowell responded, “I like you, Sarah. You aren’t the best singer we’ve heard, but I like you.”

Jackson liked that she put a different slant on the tune and enjoyed her unique voice and tone.

Abdul thought she was extremely brave, and the entire panel gave her a “big yes.”

Songwriter Bayer Sager said after Burgess exited the room, “She touched me.”

After the successful audition, Seacrest called Sarah’s parents for her to break the news. She told her father, Bob, that she was sorry she lied to them but earned her ticket to the next round.

Today calls from family, friends and media outlets kept Burgess busy.

Burgess, a fashion merchandising student at Kaplan Career Institute in Pittsburgh, said she credits her maturing voice for the success in her third audition.

She said her next appearance on the show is expected to air in two weeks.

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