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January 12
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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, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Simon Cowell
Kara dioGuardi
Randy Jackson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Tues & Wed, Fox
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Auditions: Chicago
January 19

Good evening and welcome to the next round of American Idol Season 9 Auditions. I am your recapper Jason Block, and tonight we are from Chicago! The guest judge holding the seat warm for Ellen is multi-platinum crossover artist Shania Twain.

United Center (aka the House That Jordan Built)

We see the warm welcome some Chicagoans give Idol(a/k/a disillusioned cursing auditioners who thought they could sing and were given a dose of reality and told the truth).

This is Idol's third visit to Chi-Town...as they have been here in Seasons 1 and 5. We see a clip of President Obama's acceptance speech on November 4, 2008 and the auditioners saying Yes, We Can hopefully following in his footsteps. We have 12,000 candidates auditioning here today, including one who thinks she is seeing Tyra instead of Kara.

The judges arrive, including Shania who has sold 65 Million Albums and 5 Grammys. Our First contestant is 19 yr old student Katelyn Epperly from West Des Moines, IA , who is dealing with a divorce and this is the first performance where her parents are not together to see it. Her mom is there to support her. Simon actually is nice and calms her down a bit as she sings "Syrup and Honey" by Duffy. And she has some great pipes. I sense good things. Shania thinks her voice has interesting qualities and sounded unique. Randy says that there were a lot of Adele and Duffy sound alikes and the fact that she didn't sound like her is good. He sees potential. Kara wants to see her do something more energetic and perky. The lights were "off" according to Simon. Golden Ticket time and it's unanimous. Hugs from mom!

Next is 26 year old Amy Lange, a waitress from Westchester, Ohio. She is a "big girl" and she thinks that its worth it to be in the line for a couple of days to be famous. She thinks that a musical about her life would be called "Amy Lange! Amy Lange! Amy Lange!" The Musical! Ok, then. She is excited to see Ryan, because he was the first celebrity she had an "inappropriate dream" about. She said it ended "good." Ryan sends her(ok, pushed her) into the auditions. She is singing "Dr. Feelgood" by Aretha Franklin and we get to see a trick with her enormous breasts. Her singing...she starts by collapsing to the ground. After a pregnant pause, she starts and Simon's mercifully ends it. Amy wiggles her massive boobs over and over again. Kara calls it "boob boxing". Simon and everyone else says no.

We have a lot of auditioners with family and friends. Next one is Charity Vance, a 16 yr old from Little Rock Arkansas who helps her mom and dad run a beauty salon out of their house. She sings for their clients and they are supportive. She sings "Summertime." For me, she is ok. Her voice is a little high on the register. Randy was really impressed. It was a small voice, but an interesting sound. He liked it. Shania was pleasantly surprised, and says she was using her range and wasn't afraid to do it. She has to hone in on the better qualities of her voice. She has "personal style." Simon liked the version a lot, because he has heard it a lot and it was "unique to her". Charity is on to Hollywood with all four saying yes. They were shocked at her age.

Now it gets bad. We see a lot of the people and characters that make people go nuts. We see an accordion lady, a bride and a lot of non-serious auditioners. We have seen 4 Golden Tickets so far, and after the break Simon talks to one of the auditioner's mothers who he rejected. They argue and he says, "You know I gave her good advice. And you will still like me. And you know I am right." The last auditioner is 28 yr old Angela Martin. She is giving her third and last go at the show. She was at Season 7 in Philadelphia, where her daughter who is mentally challenged will be at the Shriner's Hospital to the age of 21. She made it to Hollywood Week but her dad was killed and she went out one week after the funeral. She was cut. In Season 8, she made it to the top 50 but couldnt make the show because of a traffic violation court dare. . Will this be a sad or a Hollywood ending the third time around? She isn't giving up her dreams. She sings "Just Fine" by Mary J. Blige.

Shania says it was a good choice of song because she has been through it. She has the right attitude and it shows in her voice. Simon says it's people and singers like her that make him love and want to do this show. She is talented, need a break, and are just good. Kara likes that she listened to the criticism and showed up and were better. Kara also thinks she deserves a break. Randy calls for a vote. Simon jokingly says no, but then it's a yes all around and she is back in Hollywood. 8 others got a Golden Ticket in Day 1 here in Chi-Town.

Day 2 starts. Will it be better? 26 yr old Curly Newbern, from Chicago sings "A Woman's Work" by Maxwell. Singing is not exactly the best thing for him. It's a mewling mess. Simon jokes that animals show up in front of his house when he sings. Simon couldn't help but laugh. He leaves without the votes. Next is 19 yr Alannah Halbert from Chicago who thinks that singing in the same style as Curly will impress the judges. It doesn't. The judges try to cue her in note wise...but it's no help. And she didn't get what was going on. The early morning auditions...not good.

Brian Krauss is next. He is a 27-yr old Army Veteran and substitute teacher from Pittsburgh. He entertained the troops while stationed in Korea and got in trouble for it. He says, "Screw You Sgt. Hart, I am the next American Idol." He sings...Tip Toe Through the Tulips by Tiny Tim. It's one of his favorite artists and well...this was insanely bad. My guess was he was discharged with a section 8 for mental instability for trying this stuff. Kara asks if this was a joke. He says no. Simon asks him to swear this wasn't a joke. He does. Randy calls it weird. Kara tells him to tiptoe out of there. He wants a warm bubble bath. The judges were asking Real or Fake. Ryan is asking...why no golden tickets?

Its 12PM and the contestants are pumped up. Will 25 yr old Harold Davis be next? This construction worker from Chicago wants to fight for the glory of American Idol. "The Champ is Here!" Is he? He can hold a lot of notes, but can he sing Nice and Slow by Usher well enough to impress the judges? I am not so sure...Kara says no. His vocals werent were they should be. Randy says no, and Harold blames his allergies. Simon says no, and he slumps and breaks down.

1:20PM. Will 23-yr old Chantelle Graczkowski impress the judges? No...and a lot of others don't either.

We have John Park up next. He is 20 and a student from Northbrook, IL. His parents were against voice classes, but he feels music is a way he can impress people. Finally, we have a winner! Shania says she was surprised and a good "bottom end" and nice tone. Randy is being dirty. Kara says yes, and everyone does as well. FINALLY!

Ryan tells the last group of auditioners that there have been a shortage of golden tickets. 21-yr old Paige Dechausse is here, and really shouldn't have been. Her Grandmother rented a limo to get her family to the show. She is asthmatic and was hospitalized a lot. At 15, she suffered a major attack and anaphylatic shock from asthma while in a studio. She passed out. She had a 30% chance of living and made it. She is going to sing "Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke. Simon called "indulgent" and all about her. Simon, says no. Shania and Kara says she has potential and say yes. Randy was on the fence, but a lot of begging and convincing by Shania gets him to say yes. 3-1 and she is on. The family breaks down. She is overcome with emotion.

Justin Ray from Evansville IN, Keith Semple from Hanover Park, IL, Marcus Jones from Gary, IN all get the Golden Tickets as we end day 2 with a total of 13 handed out.

More auditions next time on American Idol...see you next time!

For more info on the Chicago auditions, and to see this episode in its entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.