Jessica Furney, American Idol contestant in Denver: If all else fails, appeal to Simon Cowell's vanity

Tuesday's episode of American Idol spotlighted Denver, giving the rest of the country an opportunity to check out Haeley Vaughn, Colorado's great Idol hope, not to mention Ty Hemmerling, the shapely contestant known as Bikini Boy. But last night's compendium of the audition rounds featured some additional Denver moments -- most notably a turn by Kansas resident Jessica Furney, who cannily sang "Footprints in the Sand," co-penned by persnickety judge Simon Cowell.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, Cowell's tunesmithing role was more conceptual than actual. He's said to have come up with the idea of adapting a poem called "Footprints," then assigned some actual songwriters to make it happen. Cowell is one of four people credited for composing it.

Nonetheless, Furney made an immediate impression through her choice -- "Beautiful song," Cowell comments in the clip above -- and warbled it well enough to earn a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Bad news for future wannabes hoping to follow in Furney's footsteps: Cowell's songwriting page on Allmusic.com lists all of one ditty -- "Footprints in the Sand." Guess you'll have to come up with another way to appeal to his vanity.

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