Every year on American Idol, fans watch intently as the taped auditions are shown over a period of many weeks to kick off the new season. Odds makers are keeping a close eye on these shows as well, hoping to get a jump on who they should make the betting favorite when the live shows begin.
On Wednesday, fans may have found their next Idol, and odds makers may have found their next betting favorite. John Wayne Schulz emerged from the Texas auditions as one of the favorites of the judges. Message boards all across the US were buzzing after Schulz's performance.
The country singer who is said to have released an independent album at the age of fourteen, sang Believe by Brooks and Dunn. The judges were taken aback by the performance, and fans already were saying how the next American Idol may have been found.
"He (Schulz) was amazing," said Nicole Benning. "I have watched all of the tryouts so far, and he easily was the best. I have to wait and see who else does well the next couple of weeks, but I know that guy is going to be one of the contestants that goes far, and I think he can win."
That is a lot to say after just one audition, but that is how a buzz grows over certain contestants. It is common, however, that some of the favorites from the auditions are eventually knocked out in Hollywood week. Each year, some of the top early talent is eliminated under the pressure of the big lights in Hollywood.
The past couple of years, sports books have taken a beating thanks to some long odds winners. Two years ago, Kris Allen won the competition after starting the live shows as a 60/1 long shot choice. Last year, it was Lee DeWyze that came from the back of the pack to become the reigning American Idol.