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January 15

January 16

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

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays at 8pm ET and Wednesdays at 9p ET on Fox


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Auditions: San Diego
January 22

San Diego will not be going to the Super Bowl. But the Super Bowl of Song will be heading to San Diego. Who'll the judge get a Charge out of? Let's find out as the auditions continue out west...

SAN DIEGO, CA - Qualcomm Stadium/Rancho Bernardo Inn

It's another rich city filled with surf, sun, sand, and Shamu. A sleepy little bungalow near the Mexican border... well, it was sleepy until Ryan, Randy, Simon, Paula, and about 12,000 of their closest friends showed up.

First up is Tetiana Ostapowych (24; Venice), who says she's so excited to be here. Couldn't tell by her performance of "Someone to Watch Over Me". It's good... just not exciting. Simon doesn't think she's as good as she thinks she is. But he gives her a pass, as do the rest of the judges. She's GOING ... up north.

"Ob. Noxious."

Next, a single father in Perrie Cataldo (27; Phoenix, AZ), whose wife was at the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing with the wrong people. It sucks that that sort of thing has to happen, but that's life. He's going to make love to Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You". His kid looks in through a peephole. Judges like this audition. Randy: "Dude." Simon and Paula agree. He's GOING TO HOLLYWOOD.

Michael Johns (28; Los Angeles) comes from LA by way of Australia. He sings Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long". Forget Natalie Gauci. This could be our Australian Idol here. Simon thought it was a good audition for a white soul singer. Randy was very impressed. This one's easy. He's going... back home away from home. "It can happen."

Three for three... but the gold rush couldn't last forever even if Bill Cullen himself were present. Cases in point: Marat Hayrapetyan (22, Sherman Oaks), Christopher Mitchell (19, Citrus Heights), and Tehilla Lauder (28, Studio City). What about Valerie Reyes (20, Riverside), a big fan of Mariah? A REALLY big fan of Mariah. She thinks she can out-Mariah Mariah. She certainly out-trills her. And that key change was completely uncalled for, thank you. "The only resemblance to Mariah Carey would be her CD left out in the sun for a year." She has a tone, but she needs to stop being like her hero. Three nos, and she's back to her iPod. "Now I'm going to be on the rejects!"

Next is "Get Here", performed vocally by Joseph Mejia (21, Menifee) and interpretively by his mime sister Juanita (17). That kicks off the backfiring gimmick reel. Christopher Baker and Monique Gibson just brought each other. Monique (24) sings "I Believe in You and Me"... and switches up in the middle. And again... This oughta be a disaster. She begs... for the fat lot of good that does. Christopher (22) tries another Whitney song, "The Greatest Love of All". It's... it's better than Monique, but, and now I'm channeling Gordon, that's like saying asparagus ice cream is better than parsnip ice cream. It's just... there. And he's switching again. They really take after each other, don't they? SECURITY!

The show's principals get a lot of love, and the last contestant on day one seems to echo that. "I don't know. I just think Simon's really really hot." This from Samantha Musa (20, Baldwin Park), whose sister sends him a note via air-mail: "Please let me in, you're on my list of people I want to meet next to Oprah and Obama." Sister gets to judge on Simon's lap. Yuuuuuh. Samantha rounds out day 1 with Aretha's "'Til You Come Back to Me". Arguably the best female to come from San Diego thus far. Sister had some concerns, but she overcame. Randy thought it was quite excellent. Paula calls it natually good. Simon agrees. Randy, yes. Paula, yes. Michelle, yes. Simon...yes. Four yesses, she's GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!

Day 2 begins with more fun in the sun. The judges want to hear something new. They hear... 10-time auditioner since season 3 Blake Boshnack (22; Long Beach, NY). You remember him as the Statue of Liberty from season five. The way his mom makes it out, you'd think SHE was auditioning, but he's going to do the singing. Maybe he'll even finish "Stand By Me". He did... but it's still a no. Well, there's always next year...

Unfortunately, over the next hour, it's about as dry as it gets. Maybe Alberto Hurtado (28, Chula Vista), AI's #1 fan man who's been too scared to sing until now. He gets inspiration from his imagination. He's written his own song, "Lift". It's kinda depressing. Even Simon agrees with me? Wha? Should've gone for the happy ending first, dude. But only Paula gets a fan from the fan man. And he wonders why Simon and Randy didn't put him through.

Aaron Garrett (28, Stockton).... less said about him the better.

David Archuleta (16, Murray, UT) had vocal paralysis, but didn't go through with surgery. He's better now, though. He sings "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer... flubs a lyrics. Randy sings backup. He likes it. Paula thinks he's mature for his age. Simon liked the song choice. He is GOING TO HOLLYWOOD... 2-1. Officially, Paula is the sole voice of dissent. So sayeth the British guy.

As we round out San Diego, we have one contestant left, Carly Smithson (23, San Diego by way of Ireland), who auditioned in Vegas, got through to Hollywood, but got a call saying that her visa paperwork wasn't valid, so... DQ. She's back two years removed, though, singing "I'm Every Woman". Reminds me of a cleaned-up Amy Winehouse. Simon? "That wasn't as good as two years ago." Randy disagrees, but it's a sweep. She's GOING TO HOLLYWOOD, and this time, it's for realsies. Joining her for the short trip to Hollywood, 30 more voices.

That's it for San Diego. Next stop on the audition train is Charleston, SC. Historically, the South, the Carolinas in particular, have churned out quality Idol product. Will the tradition continue? Find out in 23...