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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper and Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host: Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET and Wednesdays at 8:30p ET on FOX

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

January 20 - Auditions: Atlanta

After watching the first episode that Chico had to recap, I only have one thing to say - better him than me. Still, we got 26 people from the NYC area, including Scooter Girl. Now how many more people will be scooting on by to Hollywood?

We will find out as we hit the next city on the tour - Atlanta. If you remember last season, I said that you want to get as much air time as possible to leave the people watching with personality, which will give you an edge in the first voting. Scooter Girl listened - and we'll see how many of the 10,000 people listened. Certainly Tamyra Gray and Clay Aiken did, as they have previously come from Atlanta. Also from Atlanta? Keith - "Like a Virgin" Keith. Oh boy.

So do we start out with Clays or Keiths? We start with Amy Adams, who said that mom made her an American Idol. She sings "Rescue Me", and we are starting from the Tamyra Gray end - she's perky and in tune - at least better than Keith. Simon says that they may as well take someone with red hair - in this case a red and black hair fashion that Simon wonders if she and Ryan Seacrest have been sharing fashion tips. Nevertheless, she goes on, and she's a perky happy woman.

But you have to remember that Keith did come from here, and from the dark side is Simon. He says it means 'The One Who Listens'. He wants to share a song that he wrote from the heart about the connectiveness to the heart - and that already scares me. There's a good reason as he and Keith may have shared bunk beds in college. Coming from Simon (Cowell) "For someone who understands passion, I find it odd that you can sing to us, because that was painful." The singing Simon says that he has a wonderful heart, but Cowell says that he can't sing so off he goes.

Kristin Powers, who lost 80 pounds, does her version of "Flashdance", which should have been called "Flashvocals" because that was around how quickly she was in tune. Simon goes after her, and she says that she will sound better with synthesizers. The judges disagree, and she goes out and is consoled by her friend, who thinks that she should have been a good singer. The friend then puts her hand to the camera, while Kristen says that not including her was the "biggest mistake ever." Listen - all of you people who have "friends" who you say that can sing but who really can't - friends don't let friends be humiliated by Simon in front of millions of people on American Idol.

We have people that have gotten passes - so they think that the curse of Keith is over. They say that Tiffany is this year's Keith - but she wasn't as brutal as Scott - I mean she shouldn't be allowed to continue, but she wasn't brutal. She sings "All By Myself", and Simon says, "After that song, it will be." Even Paula says that she's not cut out for this show and she walks out.

Payton Cross says that he sings to make people happy - and when you have that intro, that usually spells a bad singer. We get that as he sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and Simon probably wants to hide somewhere under the table. Now this was MUCH worse than Tiffany - and this starts a montage of bad singers.

We get a second montage of the biggest song that was mutilated - "A Whole New World" - but we see that we can mangle other songs, as Robert Browning destroys "Do You Love Me" and Yuliya Johnson does the same to "Hot Stuff". Laketa Booker is next - and she is flat all over the place. She is still in tune, and I guess you do need to actually have people in Hollywood for the competition, so Simon says Yes. Paula agrees with me in terms of pitch-consistency, but Randy gives her the thumbs up, and off she goes.

Then there's Alan Ritchson. He makes Paula smile, to the point that Randy and Simon both leave and have Alan sing the audition, alone to Paula. Alan takes advantage of it, gets on one knee, and sings "You Are the Sunshine of My Life." He isn't that good either, but I'm guessing he gets in thanks to his showmanship. He and Paula hug, and Randy and Simon try to break them up. He carries Paula back to the stage - but they finally break him up, which prompts Paula to say, "You suck." Randy says to watch it with his runs, but he says yes - and Paula agrees. Simon makes it a threesome, and Alan may get to the final 32 - and the top 12, thanks to his sense of humor, which may override his musical talent if he can't improve upon it.

Then there are the people who can't have anything override their lack of singing ability - like Danny Parker, who is just awful. Simon thinks so, as he tries so hard not to laugh, "I am trying to think of anything, puppies drowning, Paula naked, Randy naked." Well, Simon tries, but he can't do it, and him and Randy get the laughing bug. Paula is ashamed, so what does she do? She asks him to sing another song, which he does, which gets the giggling group giggling a little bit more. Danny looks like he wants to follow the puppies into the pool to be drowned as the judges - but he turns around into the camera and wants a public apology from the judges. I don't think you're going to get it, Danny.

Reverend Gene Enswiler wants a golden pass for her daughter, Lauren, He sings, and it's a good thing that he's not being judged on his vocals. He tells America that Lauren will be the next American Idol. She sings "Summertime" and I get the same reaction from her as I did with Laketa - nothing spectacular, but she can carry a tune, so she'll get in. She gets the thumbs up - and tells Randy to not lose any more weight. A thrilled daddy meets her.

Can Terrence Gaines make it 2 in a row? He sings "Sweet Painted Lady" and its the best guy that I've seen so far - which isn't much because his only serious competition has been Ken the Paula crooner. Simon says that he has the happiest smile - which fades when Randy says no. Paula says yes. Simon - "I'm sorry... you have to put up with us again - you're through to the next round." He thanks Jesus, looks for someone to hug, finds a production assistant to shake hands with, runs around, lets out a Ric Flair-like 'Whoo!' and then goes skipping out of the audition room. He says afterward that he came back from Iraq - but he finds this much more nerve-wracking. Can we say Josh Gracin?

Can Pablo Amorim make it three straight? No, as me mutilates a Jon Secada song beyond repair. Fantasia Barrino comes after Pablo, and she has a nice raw voice - but she's got power behind it. She is one of the better females so far (again not saying much), as she gets carried by someone who looks a lot like Ruben.

We saw a Ruben sighting, and now we've seen an Elvis sighting. Marcus Butts looks to not be the butt of anyone's jokes. Let me revise my thoughts - THIS is the best male voice so far, and this voice actually has a shot to do some damage as he sings "Heartbreak Hotel". Randy tells him to leave the outfit at home when he goes to LA, as he makes the cut. Heather Piccinini is trying to get the Kimberly Caldwell mojo going, and she does - great on the low vocals, awful in the high register. Randy and Paula say that the voice is good, but change the image. Simon says no, but he is overruled and Heather advances, and hopefully, it will be Heather, and not Kim, who will be in the next round.

Andrew Chester recalls the spirit of... Roseanne. Not good, as his trick of folding his stomach look better than his singing. "I think you can call American Idol 3 - The Deluded.", says Simon. After his singing, he changes his views from someone who's on the top tier to someone who can make the show better. Simon? "If you were to win this competition, they would close down the FOX Network... We'd be sued. That was appalling with a capital A." Andrew knows that he blew it - but he'll be back next year. It would be nice to have someone who blew chunks for one year come back and get in the next year.

Ryan finishes this off with the fat that he doesn't think that they have found the winner in Atlanta. My take? So far, there has been no one that jumps out at me. Marcus and Fantasia are my favorites, but I think that either of them get shelled by anyone in the Top Ten from last season. Are wee seeing a talent let down? American Idol producers better hope not.

Only 24 people come from Atlanta and we are hoping that Chico gets better singers in Houston - but the promos seem like that's not going to happen. Good luck, Chico.

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