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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 Chico Alexander, Quisla Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
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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Hollywood Round: The Line Sing
February 3

Thousands auditioned over eight audition cities. From there, 147 people heard those magic three words: "Welcome to Hollywood." Now the time has come to separate the wheat from the chaff as those 147 people are cut, like overgrowth of the Australian bush, to the final 36.

One shot. One song. One star.

Welcome... to Hell Week.


On this stage, five of the last seven Idols were crowned. This year, it's the venue for Hollywood Week. Simon stresses that you're only giving you one shot.

First, though, a twist. The quarterfinalists are going to Boot Camp to get glammed up, sung up, and taught up through a master class by star mentor Barry Manilow. "What is the secret to becoming a star? Preparation meets opportunity. Think about the songs that you're going to do, and then think about the story."

Half of the lucky 147 will sing today. The other half take in the sites.

Today's group sing will be played in groups of 8, with each contestant just passing the mic to the next... A cappella. Then the four judges begin to cut.

First line contains Dennis Brigham and Lil Rounds. (Memphis, TN; 23; service rep). Lil tries "I Will Always Love You", a song that has been traditionally taboo. And for good reason. She belted it with all her might. Kara enjoyed it Next, Dennis Brigham (Glen Carbon, IL; 19; floor maintenance) sings "For Once in My Life". Simon says that no one will take him seriously. Lil... will stick around. Dennis is going home. And he won't leave without a fight. "That's y'all decision... Y'all SUCK as judges."


Back outside the Kodak, the kids are living it up in Hollywood.

Inside, a little less leisurely. Judges take a break as the ladies document that it's been a rough start.

Next group has Nathaniel Marshall (18; Malone, NY; unemployed), with "The Anchor Holds." With a headband, a tie, a T-shirt, flip-flops, two lip piercings, and tattoos up and down his arms. I hope he can sing, because he sure as hell can't dress. He's got a clean tone to him, though. It's kinda Justin Timberlakey. Paula complains that the song didn't go anywhere, but he had a good voice. Nathaniel says that music has always been an anchor to him before breaking down on stage. Also there, Anoop "Noop-Dogg" Desai (21; Chapel Hill, NC; college student) with "If It's Magic" by Stevie Wonder and Jasmine Murray (16; Starkville, MS; HS student) with "The Trouble with Love Is" by Kelly Clarkson. One was full-bodied. The other was nasal. Finally, we have Rose Flack (17; Rathdrum, ID; student), who had a bad rehearsal and is struggling to find her voice. Will she find it with "Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding? Sounds like it. Let's go to the judges. They're... ALL THROUGH.

You didn't see it, but Michael Castro (Jason's brother) was also in that group.

Next is Von Smith (22; Greenwood, MO; singer), Jorge Nunez (20; Carolina, PR; college student), and Stephen Fowler (26; Beachwood, OH; musician). Stephen sings "Superwoman" by Stevie Wonder. Randy called it one of the hardest, but Stephen slayed it. Jorge sings "Angel" by Jon Secada. Another on-point performance. Finally, Von gives an interpretive performance of "If the Rain Must Fall" by James Morrison. A little TOO interpretive. Simon: "I thought it was indulgent nonsense. Horrible song, horrible performance, it's the sort of thing a child would do."

Through to the next round: ... all three? WHAT?! Von says that having been given another chance is humbling. We'll see.

Nerves are hitting all-time highs as people are forgetting Unwritten Idol Rule #23D.4L: SONG CHOICE IS EVERYTHING. Pick the right song and you will cruise to the next round. Pick the wrong song, and you might as well pack your bag right now.

Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell (27; Brookfield, CT) had a harder time with getting rid of "Norman Gentle"... Here comes Nick Mitchell... OR NOT. You know what, who cares what he's singing. He's going home. Fine. It's "And I'm Not Going Nowhere." Unfortunately, you are. And it's not because he can sing, it's because he's not taking this seriously enough to just sing the song. He has talent, but he's not focused. Simon?

"Nick... Norman... whoever... you're going to have to do this all over again. You're through."

Wait a minute, what? As for Norman Gentle... Please, Nick... KILL HIM WITH FIRE. Joining him, Scott McIntyre and Frankie Jordan. They get to rest for the next day while day 2 brings... well, we'll see.

DAY 2...

Eighty-seven more soul prepare to take the stage.

First is Jackie Tohn (28; Silver Lake, CA; actor/singer), who literally brought down the house in New York City. She sings "Rock Me Right" by Susan Tedeshi... which was pretty scary on many many levels. Randy thought she was wild and likeable. Paula calls her memorable. So despite looking "terri-bla"... she gets the nod through, but the victory is bittersweet, as her friends are not going through.

What about Danny and Jamar? They were friends before the auditions. They both talk about Sophie some more. First is Jamar Rogers (26; Milwaukee; bartender) with MORE of "California Dreamin'." Dude, you sound great, but pick another song. Still, Randy says he's relevant. Next is Danny Gokey (28; Milwaukee; church music teacher) with "Kiss from a Rose" from Seal... which went flat going into the chorus. But he's got the it, so he'll pass. Paula says he's ready to record. The friendly rivalry continues through to Day 3.

Next up... Katrina Darrell (21; Chino Hills, CA; model/former Hooters girl)... you remember her as Bikini Girl from Phoenix, but how will she go about it in Hollywood? We'll find out soon, but right now, a glimpse of the future... a number with stars on the boobs. She's singing "Breathe" by Faith Hill... which is flat and whiny. Kara, who really gave her what for in Phoenix, said that she sounded better starting out... then took it back and says she didn't. Paula agrees. Simon and Randy say that she needs the music around her.

End result... she's going through. Jessica Furney... Sharon Wilburn... and Patricia Roman... not so lucky.

Next up, it's Jeremy Michael Sarver (27; oil rig roughneck; Jasper, TX) with "More Than Anyone" by Gavin DeGraw. Randy calls it one of the best, even better than the first time he was seen. Jesus Valenzuela (29; fleet manager; North Highlands, CA) follows it with a staid "Lately" by Stevie Wonder. Jesus steps forward. Jeremy steps back.... Back row is through. Jesus is going back to North Highlands. And he's not too happy about it. "I need to catch a flight to Sacramento and get back to work. I'm done with this."

It's time for the last line of the day with David Osmond (28; Provo, UT; musician; "The Way You Look Tonight"), Erika Wesley (29; FBI agent; Portland, OR; "Don't Think Twice"), Emily Wynne-Hughes (21; Los Angeles; singer in a band; "Excuse Me Mister")... who completely screwed her shot at it by not rehearsing that song. The final result...  David steps forward... Emily steps forward... and both are through. Erika, on the other hand, doesn't accept defeat gracefully. She says she's spent her whole life being a fighter. She wants another chance. Paula and Simon come to blows over this.

End result... the play on the field stands.

Meanwhile, the dream is still alive for 104 contestants. But they have little time to celebrate, because around the corner is the next challenge... the Dreaded Group Sing Round, where your fate is not in your own hands, but in the hands of the collective. Who will rise to meet challenge, and who'll be thrown under the bus? Hollywood Week continues next time.