American Idol feeder contest winner mesmerizes teens at City Market

Photo by Frank Schier

Rockford’s new City Market was filled with the screams of teen-aged girls Friday night, July 16—not because they were terrorized, rather they were mesmerized by the winner of the Rockford Star feeder contest for the American Idol television show—23-year-old Clayton Heinrich (pictured) of Naperville. His voice and guitar play barely beat out the other great applause-getter, Stephanie Zibell, 27. The other Rockford finalists were Brandi Bonner, 19, Hannah Poorman, 15, and Jataun Tobias, 26. WQRF-Channel 39 hosted the contest, with Kimberly Nelson, FOX 39 news anchor, emceeing a live broadcast during the evening news hour. Heinrich goes on to an audition in Milwaukee that may place him in the running for an appearance on national TV.