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Auditions: Birmingham (or "Ruben... Bo... Taylor... Jack Osbourne?") - January 30

Welcome to Idol Country, aka Birmingham, AL. "It's in the water!" Okay! We're at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, where 7000 are ready to test their mettle.

First up, with probably the sexiest southern accent I've heard, is Erica Skye (19; Auburn), a bio major at Auburn. She tries out "Unchained Melody." I think she's off in a few places, and this is one of those songs where if you don't nail it just so, you're going home. And... she doesn't nail it so.

And she's probably desperate... Paula just walks out.

So far, Birmingham is underperforming... What about Katie Bernard (19; Oviedo, FL), a girl with two voices, one high, and one extremely high? She sings "A House Is Not a Home." And her singing voice is definitely better than her talking voice. Randy would give it another shot, so long as she doesn't come affected. Simon disagrees. We defer to Paula... And after all the confusion... and meeting the husband..  She thinks... she should enjoy marriage. But for making Simon hate all of this...


Hey, people have gone through on less.

Next, Tatiana McConnico (17; Austell, GA) has no other aspirations other than singing. She's got a powerful voice on "I Never Loved a Man" by Aretha, but it's nothing we haven't heard before.

Tatiana McConnico - GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

Meanwhile, another girl from the ATL is ready to throw down. Diana Walker (27; Atlanta, GA) sings "Saving All My Love For You" by Whitney Houston. Sounds compensatory. And bland. And almost instrumental. Simon asks what happens when she sings. "They give a standing ovation." Randy: "When they stand, do they head for the exit?" Be kind, Randy.

Bernard Williams II (26; Pleasant Grove) is trying to do the home team proud. He sings "Rock with You" by Michael Jackson. Very nice. Simon goes yes. Paula says he was off key. Randy... gives him another shot.

Bernard Williams II - GOING TO HOLLYWOOD

Meanwhile, Margaret Fowler (26??, Atlanta, GA) is a cooks and a clothing designer. "I hope to really overwhelm them." Well, she does succeed at that. So how old IS she?



"I'm 50."

Praise be.

But we do begin a run of golden tickets to Hollyweird. Will Jamie Lynn Ward (17; Reidsville, NC), a blue-eyed bombshell, be next? Her father's paralyzed. She's nervous. The story of her father plays like an episode of "My Name is Earl"... or "Cops"... maybe "Cheaters." She sings "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera... and it sounds a little pitchy... and I'm having flashbacks of Kellie Pickler, but the voice is alright. The judges say it's nice when she's not powering through.


Last contestant of the day... Jack Osbourne? No, just Chris Sligh (28; Greenville, SC). He doesn't see anyone who sounds like him. But he hopes he doesn't sound like crap. Simon? "It's Justin Guarini!" Ha-ha... Chris says he wants to make David Hasselhoff cry. He sings "Kiss from a Rose" from Seal. It doesn't sound like crap, but it's a good start. Could be better. Paula... likes it... I think. Randy also likes him. Simon makes it three.


And 15 others join him from day 1.

Day 2 begins, and Randy and Simon are on their own. First up... Victoria Watson (18; Gainesville, FL), who definitely has... Itt. Her hair is six feet long. She says she sounds like a Disney character. Simon says she's a genuinely nice person. They all meet Victoria's mom. She sings "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban. Sounds just like a Disney character... off key, but just like a Disney character. Simon says it was a daughter-to-mum audition. Both judges say no. But they like the hair.

But she was head and shoulders above Lakia Hill (20), singing "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" by Deborah Cox. And apparently she's not the only one willing to take no for an answer in Birmingham.

Team Nichole is next. There's Nichole Gatzman (17; Muskogee, OK), her mom, and the belief that shouldn't sing until she got into a pageant and straight up blew (meaning good). She sings "Something To Talk About" by Bonnie Raitt... She's very nasal.

Have we saved the best for last in Brandy Patterson (28)? She wants to make the judges say "Where have you been?" She says she's the only person in her family that has the nerve to be the star. And she has the nerve to rival Keith from season 2 with "Like a Virgin". The judges like her, but her voice leaves little to be desired. She says it was the floor. So let's try the carpet. Nope. Doesn't help.

And outside, the three men of the hour have a little heart-to-heart-to-heart-to-heart with Brandy. Okay... And Brandy then... "You take your fat ass on back in there."


Sweet Home Alabama produces 20 people. And no Brandy. "They will not see or hear from me again." Llllllllet's hope.

Tomorrow, we're going to the Rose Bowl. Idol loves LA, next time.


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