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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: Los Angeles
January 26

Los Angeles. Swimming pools. Movie stars. The American Idol finish line. Tonight, though... it's just another stop on the journey as we move one step closer to the Hollywood Round.

Rose Bowl

Joining the panel tonight, skater- and pop-punk-icon Avril Lavigne and current chart-topper Katy Perry. Oh, and 12,000 hopefuls all hoping to go across town.

The first one, Neil Goldstein (19; Redlands, CA; data entry tech), has an IQ of 168. He likes computers, has a million hobbies, and he knows what it feels like to be human. He has one thing on his mind... Hope. Hope is a strong thing, but is it strong enough to carry that nervous click through "Rock & Roll Dreams Come True" by Meat Loaf? Not if he doesn't remember the words. Needless to say, he isn't suited for this business. Neil, unfortunately, doesn't take no for an answer.

Still in Day 1. Golden State has yet to produce a golden ticket. Will Jim Ranger (27; Bakersfield; pastor) have the power (ba DUM bum) to be the first? He uses an original, "Drive". That's usually a kiss of death move right there. But he makes it work. He's a very authentic soulful sound. The three regulars give Jim the power. Morph on outta here.

Simon is thankful that there's an authentic devil (Avril is wearing a horned hoodie), which is an omen, because the talent from there went straight to you-know-where. Damien Lefavor (26; Seattle, WA; sandwich maker) needs to be the heavenly warrior to kung-fu kick us back into talent mode with "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". He had a nemesis coming in, a high note. Nemesis 1, Sandwich Warrior... zero.

Lots of kids in the next montage. One of them has a prediction: her mom's going to make "top 14 or something". The woman in question, Mary Powers (28; Burbank; singer), who busts out "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar. Very raw, but a little affected. And everything about her, according to Simon, "is a little clichéd". We have the first sweep of the night.

Now we get into the Adam Lambert wannabes. One of them, AJ Mendoza (20; Upland; musical theatre), actually shopped him a demo. Lambert had nothing but positive things. I'm guessing he didn't hear his rendition of Living Colour's "Cult of Personality", which was anything BUT.

Going into Day 2, we have no Avril, but we do have a Katy Perry.... which is just as cute. She's brutally honest. This oughta be fun.

First up to meet Katy and the boys... and girl... is Austin Fullmer (18; Glendale; water treatment tech), who would let people touch him. He sings "Surrender" by Cheap Trick. And the judges don't go anywhere NEAR that. I don't blame him. I think I'd probably get hit by a flying appendage or something.

Katy? "No." Short and sweet. Okay. And... he's just the beginning of the day 2 rejects. ... Wait, was that.... Ashley, is that you?

Andrew Garcia's (23; Moreno Valley; musician) next. He's a dad, and his power comes from his son. He was born and raised in Compton, but the family has since moved out to grab a piece of that better life. Will he move to Hollywood with "Sunday Morning" by Maroon5? He toasts some of the notes, but when he sings the song simply, he's got something. Simon thinks that he's a good singer. Kara agrees, based on emphasis. Randy says he's got mad vocals. We have a full house.

Tasha Layton (26; Granada Hills) will try and turn the ladies' around. She's a personal assistant and minister who'll try to win the crowd over with "Baby Baby Baby" by Joss Stone. And she's got a nice instrument on her. Another sweep.

So pure and wholesome wins... How about dirty and deviant Jason Greene (21; student), who believes in magic. He sings the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself". And it goes down as well as can be expected... which is... not. Hey hey, this is a family show, damn it.

Katy? "I. Feel. Dirty." As well you should. Moving on?

And it looks like we're down to our final contestant, but before we do... Two hot chicks going at it.

Okay, that was hot. One last contestant. He's been in the foster system since he was 18 months. All he wants is some love. All he has is a dream and a guitar. Meet Chris Golightly (25; shoe salesman) and "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King. Randy likes him. Kara says that he's her favorite. ... Katy? "This is not a Lifetime movie, sweetheart!" HA! But she says that he does have talent. Simon's not pleased, but he says yes, with a small "Y". Katy agrees. Randy and Kara give him giant "Y", and he's on his way.

All in all, 23 others are going across town. But who will join them? Find out next time as American Idol goes to Dallas, where the talent promises to be legen, wait for it....

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