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Snyder comes up short in 'American Idol' try

February 10, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.VA. - Simon Cowell, the famously notorious judge on "American Idol," had good news and bad news for local contestant Rod Snyder back in November.

The bad news was that Snyder was not named one of the 24 semifinalists on the popular Fox television show.

And the good news, Cowell said, was that Snyder can now return to politics.

Snyder, 24, of Shenandoah Junction, was not shown singing on Tuesday night's episode, but he was shown in the beginning trying to convince his roommate to leave their shared bathroom. Those who watched the show will recognize his roommate as being the man who proudly proclaimed himself to be FF&T - fat, fashionable and talented.

Neither made the cut and sometime during the night, itineraries for their flights home were shoved under their hotel room door.

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Although he did not make it as far as he would have liked on the show, Snyder still plans to appear before cameras.

"I am definitely going to run (for office) again," he said.

Snyder, 24, made a bid last year to become the youngest member of the state's House of Delegates, but lost in the 57th District's Democratic primary race to incumbent John Doyle.

As for exercising those vocal cords for a purpose other than politicking, that also is in Snyder's future. He said he will continue to sing for fun and hopes to head to a recording studio later this year to record a few new songs for friends and family.

Snyder auditioned for "American Idol" in August 2004 in Washington, D.C., and was named one of 193 people from across the country to advance to "the Hollywood round."

Tens of thousands of others never made it that far.

On a Sunday in November, Snyder was flown to Los Angeles and checked into a specified hotel downtown.

The next morning, the contestants were split into two groups. Members of one group - including Snyder - sang that day while the others were given a tour of Hollywood and taken to a beach.

Since Snyder and others were cut on the first day, they never were given a similar tour.

"We were thoroughly irritated," he said.

Detailing what happened in Los Angeles, Snyder said he tried to find a place to rehearse in his hotel Sunday night but few were available.

The next morning he and others were bused to The Orpheum Theatre a few blocks away. He spent the morning warming up and setting his keys with a vocal coach and an accompanying pianist.

Once the show's three judges - Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson - showed up, the competition began, with contestants broken into groups of 10.

"It was so tense in there. Everyone was so stressed out. It was almost uncomfortable," Snyder said.

Out of 12 choices, Snyder chose to sing a revised version of Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," followed by Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable."

He forgot a few lines of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Although he fared better with "Unforgettable," he thinks the flubbed lines likely were his death knell.

Eight of the 10 who sang in his group were cut before advancing to the second round - portions of which were broadcast Wednesday night on Fox.

Producers interviewed Snyder before he sang and again afterward. He then went back to his hotel.

"I did not feel like talking to anyone," he said, adding that he didn't even want to call his parents to give them the disappointing news.

Although he is now optimistic and upbeat when talking about the experience, Snyder said he has regrets.

Mostly, he wishes he had performed to the best of his ability. He said he would feel better if he had nailed his audition and still been cut, because he would know he had put forth his best effort.

Since he didn't make it as one of the 24 semifinalists, Snyder can audition again this summer.

"I'm kind of leaving that option open," he said. "I'm thinking about it."

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