Idol‘s Simon Forgives After Jason Forgets

01/30/2008 at 12:00 AM EST

Throughout seven seasons of American Idol history, there's always been one golden rule in the competition: don't forget the lyrics.

Whether it's live on stage, during the make-it-or-break-it Hollywood round or a contestant's first time before the judges, failure to remember the lyrics to a song has meant trouble for American Idol hopefuls. That's what was surprising about Jason Rich's audition Tuesday night in Omaha, Neb. The 21-year-old from Stout, Iowa, who works part time on his girlfriend's father's farm, auditioned with Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing At All." And he had to start over not once, not twice, but four times before he was able to remember enough of the song to get a verdict from judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson (Paula Abdul was still a no show).

"I'm just losing the words," he explained. "I'm that nervous."

Despite telling him, "You've just blown that," when his nerves were still getting the best of him, Simon told Jason, "I'm going to give you another shot. You're through to Hollywood, but Jason, I will never ever give you that shot again."



Jason and his girlfriend were happy that he squeaked by, but does he deserve to go to Hollywood? Did he sing well enough to make up for his lapse in memory? Can he handle the pressure of American Idol?

Tell us: Does Jason deserve to move ahead in American Idol? Did you like his voice?Stewart Cook/Rex USA

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