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Crawford couple a big part of Idol hopeful's support system

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Photo by Tamie Meck American Idol finalist Jeneve Rose Mitchell talks with Crawford dance coach Stephanie Neff, at a Jan. 24 sendoff party to Hollywood at the Old Mad Dog Cafe. Mitchell advanced to the top 14 last week. Her Twitter hash tag is #rosebuds a

Crawford's own Jeneve Rose Mitchell will appear for at least one more week in the 15th and final season of American Idol after impressive performances as a Top 24 finalist.

On the Feb. 3 show, which airs on Fox, Mitchell wowed the audience and three celebrity judges, sealing a place among the Top 14 finalists and capturing the judges' hearts with a moving cover of Sarah Mclachlan's "Angels."

In the audience were two of the many people who have supported the 15-year-old on her quest to be an Idol contestant: Crawford residents Tamara and David Hauze.

The Hauzes, music teachers and a professional musical duo, met Jeneve Rose when she was about 7 years old. A fundraiser was being held for the then-new Crawford Library, which was under construction and didn't even have bookshelves. "And there was little Jeneve, just sawing away on a fiddle," said Tamara.

They both saw a lot of talent in her and asked to work with her.

"For a 7-year-old she was precociously skilled," said David. She was performing with her musician/singer father, and in the middle of a song she stopped to talk things over with her dad.

It's funny now to think about the things he first addressed with her, said David, including that she needs to listen to her dad and make it to the end of the songs.

She listened.

The daughter of Tim and Jenny Mitchell, Jeneve Rose is known as the country contestant "living off the grid." She said on last week's Idol that, to pass the time on their family farm, she learns to play different instruments. She currently plays "fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass, harp, flute, French horn, cello, banjo, ukulele, piano, trumpet, and the kazoo."

For "Angels," she strummed the harp owned by the Hauzes and which David taught her to play. The Mitchells gave their tickets for that big performance to the Hauzes, who had traveled to Hollywood to support Jeneve Rose and her family.

Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine having VIP seats for the performance, said David. They initially declined, but the Mitchells insisted. David said he and Tamara insisted that it was too much, and said they'd wait outside, "Which is more than enough," said David.

"It ended up being our wild privilege to be there," he said. "We are thrilled to be able to do this."

In the beginning, Tamara taught Jeneve Rose, but now David is her teacher. "She outgrew my level of coaching a while back," said Tamara.

"She has been a sheer delight," said David. He and Tim Mitchell, also voice coach, work together to hone her talents. He calls her a "co-creation. "All of this without knowing it was leading to this," he mused.

David said he likes to tell his students that they are actually teaching themselves and he is simply passing on the tricks and secrets he's learned in his 20 years of teaching.

That works well for Jeneve Rose, who told the DCI that when she chooses a new instrument, she takes a basic lesson and takes things into her own hands from there. In her first audition before celebrity judges she wowed them with her voice and unique style of playing cello to win the golden ticket to Hollywood. She advanced to vthe Top 24 in part with her guitar/vocal rendition of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."

Jeneve Rose is very self-motivated in all she does, said David. She told him over the years that she is going to be on Idol, and David would amuse her while thinking how difficult it is just to get on the show.

Following her performance of "Angels," Jennifer Lopez said it gave her "goosies," and Keith Urban told her, "You're the real deal . . . You're extraordinary."

The Hauzes agree. "This young woman is so hard working," said Tamara. "She has remained true to herself, and I admire her for that."

Unlike most of the other remaining contestants, who sing loud and hit the big notes, Jeneve Rose is mostly crooning and serenading her way up the Idol ladder. "She can hit those power notes," said Tamara. "But that's not who she is." And while she can joke and be all giggles and playful, "At the same time she has this wisdom that goes beyond her age.

"It's just in her being," said Tamara.

Tamara said they were impressed with American Idol and the show's ability to regulate the show. Under-18 contestants like Jeneve Rose are "very well supervised," and time is set aside daily for doing homework.

The rigorous schedule is intended to emulate real show business, and does a good job, said Tamara, and she's handling it well. "Jeneve Rose went into this with a full head of steam, and she has not lost that."

Last Thursday, the judges narrowed the first field of 12 contestants down to seven. Jeneve Rose stood quietly while her name was the last to be called. She has a week off while the judges narrow the second field of 12 down to seven, beginning tonight and continuing tomorrow night. Starting Feb. 24, the Top 14 will begin vying for a Top 10 spot. For those used to being able to vote starting with the top 24, sorry. According to American Idol, this year's voting won't open to the viewing public until only 10 contestants remain.

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