When the "American Idol" judge got distracted by a bird or perhaps an insect and began watching the erratic flight path above him instead of his performance, Brent Wydrinski figured this audition was about over. He was right.

I asked Brent how long he made it. How long did he get to sing after driving to San Francisco from Wallowa County. Then standing in line to register. Getting a wristband that would get him in the gate, three days later. This wristband was paper. Not plastic. It's challenging to keep paper intact for three days when it's looped around your wrist, Brent says.

Wrapping it with cellophane to shower is a delicate precedure. Then there was the ticket, which determined when Brent would audition, as they called up American Idol hopefuls by their seat and row numbers in AT&T Park.

Brent lost his ticket. He backtracked and, against stupendous odds, found it next to a car tire outside the train station. Rushed back to the stadium, got to his seat just as their row was being called. After all that, how long did the winner of Wallowa County's Soroptomist Idol, held in lil' ol' OK Theater, how long did he get to serenade the real, honest-to-gosh American Idol people there in a big huge gigantic stadium?

"Pretty much until I took my first breath. Then she held up her hand and said, 'OK, thanks.'" The other judge had been resting his cheek on his hand the whole time and never really looked up, tuckered out from sitting through hundreds of auditions already that day.

Should Brent have come out of the chute with '9 to 5' by Dolly Parton, like someone suggested? Was 'Wagon Wheel' by Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show just not explosive enough? Why are other singers here dressed like superheroes, wearing spandex and capes? So many questions.

Lots of talented folks down there, Brent said. Some amazing singers. Jessie Borgerding of Wallowa County among them, and she advanced to the second round of auditions (see "Borgerding tries out for 'Idol'" in the Chieftain last week). I don't know how you would structure tryouts for over 9,000 performers so they might get a chance to keep singing beyond their first breath. Maybe Brent should practice circular breathing so next time he doesn't have to take any breaths.

Waiting in line outside of AT&T Park after finding his lost ticket, Brent listened to a guy playing guitar and singing for the line of singers. The guy wasn't bad, Brent said. Wasn't necessarily good, but not bad. He was singing originals. Mostly to do with peace, love, that kind of thing. Then someone official came over and apologetically asked the singer to move along, saying this wasn't the place for him to be playing for tip money.

Brent moved ahead in line, got inside for his audition, got the "OK, thanks," then on his way out, talked to the guy who had been asked to cease and desist from singing to the singers. "They don't understand, man," the singer told Brent. "My songs are going to change the world. I'm telling you. Change the world."

And Brent saw hope here. Belief in peace and love and . . . "Those blankety-blank bleep-bleeps don't understand, man. My blankety-bleep songs will blanking change the bleep-bleep world - but those blankety-bleepers. . . ." Brent started watching an imaginary moth flit above the guy's head. The blankety-blank tirade kept going, so Brent held up his hand, said, "OK, thanks," and went on his way.

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