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''Idol'': The Local Angle ...

By RD Heldenfels Published: February 21, 2006

Proof yet again that I should never take a day off: My voice mail included a weekend message about an ''American Idol'' contestant being born in Akron -- something that had not been in the information Fox sent out about the top 24. My boss received a similar phone call. I checked it with Fox this morning.

Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, Heather Cox -- currently from Jonesville, N.C. -- was born in Akron.

Although I am a faithful ''Idol'' watcher under most circumstances, expect a closer look because of this development, here and in the Beacon Journal. I've learned that the family left Akron when Heather was just 9 months old, that still makes her local.

For those of you wanting to know more about Cox, her ''Idol'' info is here. You can see the Web site for her family's church (and a picture of her parents in the senior pastor section) here.

The oddsmakers' analysis  I posted here before have her at 22-1, but that puts her in the upper tier of contenders.

I have talked to a family friend and to Heather's mother, and will have a story in tomorrow's Beacon Journal about her. I also expect to be blogging at some point about tonight's show. Update: I will blog about tonight's show sometime tomorrow.

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