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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 27 - Auditions: Hawaii

"Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono". The state motto of Hawaii translates into "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness." And over the next hour, we'll see which of these performers lives up to the righteousness of the 808 and joins the 99 others with golden tickets, and which ones should be 86'ed and joins no one.

After stopoffs in Seattle (season 1), Detroit (season 2), and a stormy Houston, we're at Aloha Stadium for the prelims while our judges arrive at the Sheraton Waikiki and Ryan tears up some waves at the beach.

But back to the airport, where Simon partakes in young girls singing ("Absolutely terrible. Fantastic, girls!") and gets lei'd. Ruben took Hawaii last year (I know, we can't really prove that), so who knows where the next Velvet Teddy Bear would show up. Would it be Sonny "Go Sonny!" Kapu? He can freestyle, but would he shine on "Nice & Slow" like the diamond in his ear? He hits, then misses, then hits again.

Randy: "I'm not sure the voice was strong enough, but I like the whole ... I thought it was very creative."
Simon: "You really need a competition like this, because without it, it would be like Honolulu High Street with a cap on the pavement."

What the heck is that supposed to mean? Meanwhile back in the holding room...

Crowd: "Go Sonny, Go Sonny..." Yeah, Sonny's going all the way to Hollywood, mainly because Randy was entertained. Simon would've said no, but it doesn't really matter. It did when Keefelynne Aipia belted out "A Moment Like This". Bloody flat. All I have to say about it. And stops short of the hook.

Simon: "A weird place to stop. No, I'm glad you did."

So am I. Meanwhile, Ryan chases Sonny's crowd. First elevator: No. Second? No. Third... "Go Sonny, go Sonny, go Sonny."

Back in the holding room, Ryan Ferrar whips the crowd up in a round of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". But would he create the same type of frenzy with the judges on "Straight Up." Rule one if you're trying to get to Hollywood: Do NOT do an injustice to Paula Abdul. He doesn't kill the song. He pulverizes it.

So we keep looking, even as Jon Peter Lewis was looking like he was supposed to be somewhere else. Like in a bed or something. Admittedly, he came straight from church, but will he rise to "Crazy Love?" Very different than what we're used to... but in a good way. Earlier, I mentioned the power of the trill when used properly. This guy uses it properly. Coupled with the velvet tone, though?

Simon: "Very interesting, this Jon. You have a good voice. You look like a pen salesman. And you have the personality of a mouse."

A tricky one, indeed, but Randy, Paula, and Simon all buy pens from our salesman. And he's awake now. I mean, he's booty-shakin' with the ladies, come on. He's gone to Hollywood, you don't get this opportunity often.

And speaking of opportunity, big girl Paula Fuga takes the opportunity to let the judges know that big girls rock. Will she rock on "Son of a Preacher Man?" Yes, but with a few sour notes. But the tone was still there.

Randy: "This next winner has to be HOT hot hot, not just cool."

She gives it her all, but it wasn't enough. And it's not enough for William "Pooh Bear" Lau or Mary Taua, either. But maybe Isaac Staudinger might have the song (in this case, "Lately" by Jodeci) or the dance. He has the dance, but his tone is way too open for this one to pass. Not to mention off-key. Simon thinks he's just here to get his minute on the telly, and, once again, he's ready to put up or shut up, challenging Isaac to come back with five beach-goers who disagree with him.

A reversal, as he follows through. Hard to believe that five people would be tone deaf. Admittedly, he did better on the beach, so back to the beach he goes. Yay for him.

So we're in Hawaii to get a taste of the locals, not knowing that the mainland was also in full force. Washington state, Colorado, Jersey, Oklahoma, Chicago, Alaska, Alabama, San Francisco, Nigeria?

Back to the locals for a bit, and it seems like Crystal Akana is just infused with the spirit of Aloha. She's also infused with the spirit of brown-nosing and an airbrush, as her shirt, "Hawaii <3's Simon" proves. She sings "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" by Beyonce. Right idea... wrong version. Back to the manic trillage and flat notage. I'm going to keep saying this until people get the point... No amount of elisions will hide the fact that half of the notes are flat and the pitch is off!! This is just one of the reasons why I'm not really that big on Beyonce. Needless to say, goodbye Aloha spirit, hello harsh reality. But Simon likes her shirt.

"The basic fact is she just wasn't good enough, I don't care how many people she came with. This is NOT a popularity contest." Good thing, because Camile Velasco was an army of one. Was she "Ready or Not"? It was choppy and flat in a couple of spots, but salvageable. Was it salvageable enough?

Simon: "You're nervous, aren't you? You shouldn't be, because you have a great voice."
Randy: "I love the voice, I love the dark kind of quality about it."

Another three-for, another golden ticket. Meanwhile a prospective auditioner learns the hard way that just because you sound good in the bathroom doesn't really amount to that darn much. Will it be the toilet for Clifford Iokia's "The Day?" He nails the song perfectly... except for the nasal tone. Can the habit be broken? Simon doesn't think so. Randy does. It's up to Paula. Oh boy.

Paula: "If you come to Hollywood, would you get out of that nose thing?"

He says yes. She says yes. It a giant "Yes!" moment. "I'm Hawaiian, and I'm going to Hollywood, baby! Mahalo!"

Would Matthew Motter follow him? Well, not likely if he's using his audition to a) get himself a girlfriend and b) talk down on everyone who didn't believe in him. "If you didn't believe in me, then... come hear for yourself!" We hear, but with a completely off rendition of "That Way That I Love You" by Joey McIntyre, I wouldn't believe in you either.

Hot model coming later. Just so you'd know. But first, a goat, a monkey, a baby, and three more babies. But first, Jonah Moananu, the 808 State MC Freestyle Champion. But is the singing champion on Boyz II Men's "Thank You"? A tad weak on two spots, but he makes it. Simon liked it, Randy doesn't... Again, with Paula. Or with Simon. Or with someone. Two of three sends Jonah to Hollywood, and it's time to lay the track:

"Now I was complaining, I thought I really hate it.
But now I've got the golden ticket, happy that I made it.
I met Paula Abdul, and she's so cool.
And my man Simon, yo he wasn't a fool.
He was like "Jonah, congratulations you can go."
And I was like "Yeah", my man Randy was "Yo!"
He was so skinny, but I'm glad that I'm inney,
I'm a Winnie, thinnie, I don't know what I'm saying but that's it, I'm the one,
we're in like sin, baby."

Model on the other side of the break. And what a model, as Lisa Wilson, on assignment in Hawaii, stops off to give her all on "Independence Day." Better than the kid doing it on "Star Search". Actually, one of the best Hawaii offered. One of the best. Not THE best.

Simon: "I would've said no, Lisa, but two people have said yes, so you are coming to Hollywood."

Altogether now... Riiiight. Okay. There it is. All the auditions are done with, and we're left with a fitting tribute to Roland "Don't Laugh" Maxharj, Karmen "The Bulgarian Subwoofer" Varjabedian, Jacqueline "Scat Girl" Roman, Michael "That's a No for Goat Boy" Recon, Tiffany "New Note" Ballard, Jonathan "Nearly Escaped an Assault Charge" Rey, Danny "No, Seriously, Don't Laugh!" Parker, and this season's running joke William "She Bangs! She Bangs!" Hung, as well as the other 79,992 people who gave it their best shot.

So after six cities, we're left to whittle 117 would-bes to one Idol. But first we go to 32. That's what the road to Hollywood is all about. See ya Monday!

And just so I can say I mentioned it once. "Hula girls." There. I'm satisfied now.

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