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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: The Road to Hollywood
February 3

Over the last four weeks, you've seen the best of the best... and the best of the worst. Now, in what has become almost a custom, it's time for the best of the rest.

The Best of the Rest

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Lao Tzu

We begin tonight's showcase with... "Pants on the Ground". That became instantly famous. The song choices of returnee Jessica Furney (20, Wamego, KS, caregiver)... not really. "Footprints in the Sand" is her choice, and it actually comes out nicely. While the panel belittles the head judge, they also say that she's vastly improved. Guts, perseverance, and a great voice... she had all these and more...

"The road up and the road down is one and the same." -Heraclitus

Amanda Shectman (18, Roslyn, NY, theatre student) does a killer Britney... and from what we hear, an even more killer Lil' Wayne. When it comes to singing, though, "Good Morning Heartache" by Diana Ross, is all her, combined with someone else. She's got a hard time figuring out who she is. Simon wants her to connect with everyone. She'll get another shot at it... and Simon... stick to your day job.

Joining her, maybe, is Lee Dewyze (22, Mount Prospect, IL, paint sales clerk)... or Crystal Bowersox (23, Elliston, OH, musician/mom)... or both? Yeah, both.

Fake-out montage!

"To know the road ahead, ask those coming back." -Chinese proverb

A lot of return prospects this go around... Remembering them is easier for some than others. Lacey Brown (23, Amarillo, TX, church event director) was here last year. She was top 50 last year, having lost her spot to Megan Joy. She has to turn this no into a yes with "Over the Rainbow". If she was good enough for the season prior... she's good enough this time.

Stephanie Fisher (23, Jamestown, NY, student/promotional model) is back for a seventh time, and as luck would have it, she's going up against her own idol, Victoria Beckham. She gives us "Fever".. and it's a little chilly. Simon thought it was terrible. She thought that perhaps Victoria was putting her off. She wasn't. She's truly that bad.

Meanwhile, we go from vets to greenhorns Rachel Hubbard (Boerne, TX), Thaddeus Johnson (Oklahoma City), and Genesis Moore (McDonough, GA), all of which hit sweet 16... and struck gold.

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it." -Yogi Berra

We have a little bit of everyone and everything in the room, especially athletes. They just want to be in the game. Adrian "The Big ____" Chandtchi (17, Apopka, FL, HS student) is 6'8"... and is affectionately called "a man flower" and "Blonde-zilla" at the same time. He sings "Can't Help Falling In Love" by Elvis... and it sounds like someone stepped on his man-junk. Unfortunately, it doesn't match the song OR the singer, so it's a no.

Michael "Big Mike" Lynche (26, Astoria, NY, personal trainer) is a personal trainer whose brother was actually sent through once upon a child. He's got guns... He's also got a child on the way. Does he has a hit with "Unchained Melody"? Apparently so, if Kara and Kristin Chenoweth can't stop giggling. He's through.

Didi Benami (22, Hollywood, CA, waitress) is battling her emotions as she's auditioning in memory of her best friend Rebecca, who died four years ago. She sings "Hey Jude" in a bit of a changeup... and it works for her. Randy thought that she made the song her own, saying yes. Simon gives it a yes with a small "y". Avril Lavigne says that she's got potential... so it's a full house.

"He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity." -Ben Jonson

We've seen heart and determination. In Aaron Kelly (16, Sonestown, PA, HS student), they saw resilience. He moved around a lot. His father couldn't keep a job. Uncle and aunt adopted him and his brother as a result of social services stepping in. He sings "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus. A little risk singing a ladies' song, but that voice out of someone like him makes him believable. Full house.

Kimberly Bishop (23, Altamonte Springs, FL, nursing student) says that she has a really big heart, wanting to recycle and help kids in Africa. She sings "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry... and it's a no. No, seriously. She wasn't good enough.

Shaddaii Harris (22, Arlington, TX, college student) has Texas-sized talent, and a Texas-sized kiss from her mother. The only thing she doesn't have is a pitch on "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. It got Neil Patrick Harris dancing... but that's pretty much it. And Shaddaii apparently can't take a hint.

"Tomorrow is another day." -Scarlett O'Hara, "Gone with the Wind"

We've got one more for you, Hope Johnson (19, Arlington, TX, waitress/bartender), who had to overcome a lot of poverty that she didn't really know existed at the time. She always counted on the promise of tomorrow. For Hope, that promise is right now, as she uses her escape to hopefully escape to Hollywood. She goes with "I Hope You Dance"... and it's probably the best audition of the lost. Kara says it was very interesting. Randy thought she was very innocent, but he's hoping that she "completes the phrasing". Everyone in the room, including Joe Jonas (that should be all of the guest judges), say yes.

"In the end, everything is a gag." -Charlie Chaplin

In total, 181 people took a risk and earned golden tickets to Hollywood. For them, the journey has just begun... It'll end in Hollywood Week for a great majority of them, as they take the stage at the Kodak Theatre to sing for a spot in the top 24 in front of the panel, which includes new judge Ellen DeGeneres.

But if you think it's going to be all fun and games... think again.

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