by Jacki Mick
Need an excuse to tune into American Idol tonight? Tell the Judge-y McJudgersons that your only watching to see a local girl succeed. Last October, Emily Piriz auditioned in Atlanta and will be featured on tonight's episode on AI. We wish Emily luck, but if spoilers are to be believed, she won't need it, because she's already made it into the top 31.
Emily's not the only Orlando resident competing on a reality show in 2014. Keep you eyes peeled for Robert Bennet, a sculptor for Walt Disney Imagineering, to appear on Syfy's new show Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge. In this brand-new show, contestants create puppets and mechanical creatures in order to win a contract job in Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Oh, and $100,000. I imagine for these passionate creature-creators, the job is worth more than the money.
Orlando residents have been trying to become reality-show-famous for many years. Sadly, they have not had great success with actually winning the big prizes. Last year, Sebastian Serra from the Orlando Ballet gave So You Think You Can Dance a shot. He made it through to the Vegas rounds, but didn't make it to the top twenty. Hopefully, he'll give it another shot this year, because the judges seemed to love him.
Sometimes, our Orlando contestants don't even make it past the first episode. In 2006, Vipul and Arti Patel of Windemere became the first Indian-American couple to compete on the Amazing Race. They didn't get to do much racing, though. They were eliminated in the first episode.
On season 7 of Project Runway, Orlando resident Jesse LeNoir had a bit more luck, hanging in all the way to episode 7 before being declared "Out!" by Heidi Klum. The challenge that did him in? Making an innovative look using materials found in a hardware store.
Even though it's not a reality competition show, it's notable to mention Soup to Nutz Diner in Tavares, which was featured on an episode of Restaurant Impossible. When Robert Irvine arrived at the diner, he was appalled at the cleanliness, or lack thereof. In fact, he refused to let anyone eat food coming out of the kitchen. Despite an initial bump in business following the episode, Soup to Nutz closed its doors in May of last year.
If you want to cheer on your hometown girl, Emily Piriz, on American Idol, tune in at 8 p.m. on Fox.