In the end, it didn’t matter what Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson or Simon Cowell thought about Leo Marlowe.

He still is Charlotte, Iowa’s “Idol.”

After making it all the way to a Hollywood audition for the Fox television sensation “American Idol,” the 24-year-old restaurant worker’s journey on the show ended Wednesday. He finished among the final 164 contestants among more than 100,000.

Marlowe did not finish among the top 50 hopefuls, who were identified on Wednesday’s show. By the end of the program, the list had been slashed to a final 24 potential Idols.

“We didn’t see Leo on the show tonight, but this place is packed,” said Dawn Phillips, a patron at Dad’s Place in Charlotte, Marlowe’s hometown of about 300 people. The restaurant and bar was “standing room only,” Phillips said.

“He’ll always be our Idol,” Phillips said. “He has made it further than anyone here could ever dream of. He made it to Hollywood.” Some in the crowd said it is possible “Home of Leo Marlowe” could be added to the Charlotte welcome sign.

“He’s a real nice kid,” said Arlene Grimm. “He always seems to be busy and acknowledges people.”

Marlowe, a Wartburg College graduate who works at The Summit Bar and Restaurant in Iowa City, is prohibited from talking to the media as part of his “Idol” contract. Even his parents, who went to his initial audition in Omaha, Neb., must remain mum.

Marlowe is the first contestant from the Quad-City region to make it to the Hollywood auditions during the show’s seven-season run. And residents of Charlotte said they will not soon forget it. “The exposure he has had, he is going to go somewhere,” said Bob Que as Dad’s Place customers broke into the familiar “LEE-OH, LEE-OH” chant. “We all

support him.”

David Heitz can be contacted at

(563) 383-2202 or dheitz@qctimes.com. Comment on this story at qctimes.com.

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