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Rathdrum teenager Rose Flack hugs Principal Conrad Underdahl at Lakeland High School Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009. Flack came back to the school to say hello at a pep assembly the day after she was featured as a contestant on
Rathdrum teenager Rose Flack hugs Principal Conrad Underdahl at Lakeland High School Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009. Flack came back to the school to say hello at a pep assembly the day after she was featured as a contestant on "American Idol." All she could say about the show was that she was one of the 13 or so contestants chosen to go to Hollywood from the Salt Lake City auditions. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Rathdrum woman makes ‘Idol’ Hollywood round

Rose Flack, 18, of Rathdrum, won a “golden ticket” on Wednesday’s “American Idol” episode, making her one of about 117 contestants to make it into the show’s Hollywood round.

It’s a big step in a contest with more than 100,000 contestants. It will take weeks, if not months, to find out if she becomes the actual American Idol, but one thing is already clear: She’s the Rathdrum Idol.

Rathdrum’s Lakeland High School students gave an ear-splitting roar for Flack, a 2008 Lakeland graduate, when she danced her way to the microphone at an assembly Thursday.

“I love you!” shouted someone in the crowd.

“I love you, too!” she shouted back, barely able to contain her glee.

She told the students she was asked to “speak a few words of inspiration.”

“I’m no better than you. Sure, I’m hilarious,” she said, to a roar of approval. “But I’m no different than you. … I think you have to reach for the stars.”

Flack became an overnight star just hours before, when the nation’s top-rated show devoted nearly five minutes to her. Notoriously hard-to-please judge Simon Cowell began her Salt Lake City audition by saying she looked “fantastic” and ended it by saying “there’s something about you that I absolutely love, you’ve got something special about you.”

In between, she sang an a cappella version of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.”

The rest of the segment was devoted to her personal story. Both of Flack’s parents died during her childhood. She moved to Rathdrum from Tucson several years ago to live with her brother Jonathan Flack. Last year, she moved in with the family of her best friend, Kaitlynn Bye, and her parents, Gary and Tina Bye of Rathdrum.

“She brought Rose over and we got to know her,” said Tina Bye. “She needed parents.”

“They became the second parents to me,” said Rose.

Rose was clearly a well-known character at Lakeland High School, but not necessarily for her music. She said she started singing in Tucson but had not pursued it yet in Rathdrum.

When asked if she plays a musical instrument, she deadpanned, “Yeah. The kazoo. I play the kazoo like a madman.”

The audition actually took place last summer in Salt Lake City. She was one of only 13 contestants out of more than 10,000 in the auditions there to advance to the Hollywood round. She is bound contractually not to reveal what has happened since. She still has her job as a “wellness provider” at Generations, an assisted living facility in Rathdrum.

The Hollywood round is an accomplishment in itself, but many hurdles remain.

Anyone looking for hints to the future might ponder the words she said to the Lakeland students on Wednesday: “I think it’s important to have dreams … and I accomplished my dreams pretty well, in my opinion.”

Jim Kershner can be reached at (509) 459-5493 or by e-mail at jimk@spokesman.com.


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