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Hot Springs Idol hopeful makes it to Hollywood

An American Idol contestant from Hot Springs makes it through the first round of auditions in Hollywood.

At least four people with Arkansas ties made it to Hollywood this year on American Idol.  Alex Carr from Fayetteville, Charity Vance from Little Rock, Jim Ranger - originally form Conway and Perry Johnson from Hot Springs.

The Hot Springs Mall was filled with an unusual scene, Wednesday.  Shoppers stopped in their tracks to listen to singer/songwriter Perry Johnson as he played a keyboard on display at a piano store.

Almost immediately, a crowd started to gather. 

"I'm in love with him already," said one woman who listened for almost an hour.

"He's wonderful! And we need to support our Arkansans," said another listener.

These fans are the same people who inspired Johnson to keep trying to get on Idol.  After two previous attempts, he made it to the judges table and is now onto round two in Hollywood.

"I was told one time, when you've come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on," said Johnson.

He held on long enough to become one of the 300 people called out to the Hollywood auditions.

"Once I finished singing, Steven [Tyler] told me he really liked me," said Johnson.  "I was one of his favorites so far. That's Steven Tyler!  An icon in music. That was a huge deal for me."

A huge deal and all the confirmation he needed to continue pursuing his dreams.  Now, he says, he knows whether he's on stage or playing a keyboard in a mall, as long as he's doing music he's in the right place.

"If I touch them here, maybe I'm supposed to be touching the world," Johnson said after his impromptu concert.

Johnson is slated to perform on American Idol Thursday night.  He also hopes to soon have his first original song available for download on iTunes.

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