As a music writer, it is often hard enough to ignore the behemoth that is Fox’s American Idol.

Now entering its 10th season, the popular reality show has had an incalculable impact on the popular music landscape and given careers to such stars as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and David Cook. However, pushing aside the program’s media blitzkrieg is a task made even more difficult when the show’s impact extends all the way to one’s backyard.

While watching the season premiere last night, many fans in the Pioneer Valley got a special treat when it was shown that area resident Ashley Sullivan not only competed on the program but actually earned a coveted ticket to Hollywood.

After professing her wish to, “Be the first show-tune pop star,” Sullivan appeared to win over new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who overruled veteran judge Randy Jackson in order to make the young woman’s dream come true. Tyler even went so far as to say that he personally would, “Work that [Sullivan] into something good.”

Watch video of Ashley’s performance here:

Though it is still too early to tell how Sullivan may fare in the latter portions of the competition, she was at least able to break the show’s mold of predictability and likely earned many new fans in the process. Her love of Britney Spears notwithstanding, Western Massachusetts may have its newest representative to shake things up musically on a national scale.

Meanwhile in other news, if you are a member of a local band that is playing at SXSW in Austin, TX this year. We’d be interested in talking to you. Please e-mail for more information. Mahalo.