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Mitchell woman may be on 'Idol' tonight

Rebecca Culhane performs "Save Tonight" with Travis Johnson during the Wesleyan's Got Talent program last year during homecoming at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell. (Photo courtesy of DWU)

A Mitchell resident may perform on "American Idol" tonight.

Rebecca Culhane is a Yankton native who married a Mitchell man and still has a home here. It's rumored she will appear on the show, which begins at 7 p.m.

The hit FOX series airs twice a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Culhane was shown in a preview Wednesday night, offering a hint she would make her debut tonight.

Culhane, 25, is competing with thousands of other would-be stars to make it to Hollywood for the show. She is forbidden to discuss details of her appearances on the show.

That's typical, according to J. Paul Koehler, of Rapid City, who appeared on four episodes of the show during its fourth season in 2005.

Koehler said performers are warned they will be sued for millions of dollars if they provide details of their performances. He finished in the top 20 of the show and has since recorded and released CDs, performed in New York City and staged shows in Rapid City.

Koehler said the fact that Culhane appeared in previews was a good sign. The audition shows are taped in advance.

"When they show someone, it's usually an indication they're going very well," he said.

It could mean she will advance on the show or even may be a hint that she will advance to the final rounds, which are shown live.

Since she moved to Mitchell, Culhane appeared in an Area Community Theatre presentation of "Big: The Musical" as well as in a musical review. She also sang a duet with Travis Johnson at a Dakota Wesleyan University show called "Wesleyan's Got Talent."

Culhane attended Dakota Wesleyan University for a year. She is married to Matt Culhane, a Mitchell resident, and has lived in Mitchell since 2003.

Her parents are Don and Anne Swift, of Yankton, and she has an older sister, Elizabeth.

The Swifts are happy their daughter is getting some national attention, Don Swift said.

"I'm just proud of her anyway," her dad said. "She's an amazing kid."