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Season 11
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Previous Episodes
January 18

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 Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Randy Jackson
Jennifer Lopez
Steven Tyler
Mentor Jimmy Iovine
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Wed & Thurs, Fox
@American Idol

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Auditions: Pittsburgh
January 19

Last time, the search for America's newest Idol began with 42 people getting through to Hollywood fro Savannah. Now it's onto the city of champions. With storied legacies like the Pirates, the Penguins, the Steelers, and the Terrible Towel, is it possible that the blue and white of AI will be replaced with black & yellow?

Open call: Heinz Field
Callbacks: David L. Lawrence Convention Center

First up, Heejun Han (22; Flushing, NY; nonprofit organizer) can hardly hold in his excitement. Well, he's trying to, it looks like. The native of Korea kicks us off with "How I Am Supposed to Live Without You" by Michael Bolton. Surprisingly better than expected. But will he get eaten by Hollywood? We'll find out. Heejun's on his way to Hollywood, and Steel City is on the board.

Next up, Reed Grimm (26; Ellsworth, WI; nanny), whose parents were in a band, fell in love, got married, and added onto the band as they went. Today, he's singing, and I'm not joking here, "As Days Go By (Theme From "Family Matters")". You know, once you get over the whole crazy gyrating motions of his flailing body, he's not a bad singer. He has the mark of a great performer, in that you don't know what he's going to do next. That gets him the golden ticket. Joining him: Aaron Marcellus (27; Teaneck, NJ; voice teacher) and Chase Likens (20; Point Pleasant, WV; student).

The golden tickets became the black and yellow tickets. Can Patricia Bell (Pittsburgh; "Patty the Pittsburgh Planker") keep the momentum going? Of course not. She's too busy planking, which, contrary to popular belief, is rather dumb. The audition is actually for her sister Samantha Novacek (19; Sutersville, PA; server), who sings "Like We Never Loved At All" by Faith Hill. Patty can check off "plank the AI logo" on her list, but Samantha needs to control her breathing. But she has a good strong voice. That'll get her to Hollywood. And who knows, maybe we'll see Patty there as well. For the record, though... planking... still dumb.

Creighton Fraker (28; Queens, NY; starving artist) is garnering attention on the NYC streets. Can he translate that into gold as he gets off the bus and into the audition room with a song he wrote on the way here? No, but when he goes into "Who's Loving You" by the Jackson 5ive, we end up with vibrato nightmare. He's not going to let a little thing like positive criticism get in the way of him singing it out. He better stop, because he's going to go to Hollywood!

Following him is Eben Franckewitz (15; Milford, OH; student), who's been practicing nonstop in order to get to this moment. He may be too young for this (he looks like Justin Bieber), but how will he fare with "Ain't No Sunshine"? Jennifer thinks he was born to do this, and Steven thinks that he's only going to get better. It's another sweep.

Travis Orlando (17; Bronx, NY; unemployed), now a high-school dropout, is returning for a second shot with "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie... He's gotten stronger from last year, but he's not there YET. He's singing the passion, but he's not showing it. A lot of things have happened last year... dropped out of school. Mom left for another relationship, eviction, moved into shelter, dad started dialysis. He's scared... but he's worth another shot at it. He's going to Hollywood!

Day 2 begins with Erika Van Pelt (25; South Kingston, RI; mobile DJ) who's been in and out of clubs and weddings (as a singer). Singing for her is another outlet. She sings "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by Carole King. She's got a crazy alto sound to her, and some killer phrasing. And the voice matches her. They end up sending her through, 3-0.

As the gold run continues in the city of Bill Cullen, we hope to find a blockbuster in Shane Bruce (19; Moundsville, WV; coal miner). Coal mining runs in his blood. It's something he's proud of, but he'd rather be a singer. He sings "In the Still of the Night" for his mates... and then for the panel, "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley. He admittedly has done better. Steven says that he's probably better off in a coal mine. Randy thinks he needs some work at. The judges tell him... maybe next year.

And we're down to one more audition.... Hallie Day (24; Baltimore; waitress), and that is her real name, by the way, just married her husband, who saved her life after she had a few bumps in the road as a member of a girl group. She hit rock bottom, but with the help of her now-husband, she was able to make it. She sings, rather a propos, "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. She's a survivor. And you know what they say... pain is a great motivator. The judges see her as a great competitor... and she's on her way.

That's it for Pittsburgh. In total, 38 from the Steel City get gold. But the journey continues... into a special Sunday episode from San Diego.

To see extras from this episode, go to www.americanidol.com.