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Round 1: Cleveland and Orlando, part one

Will the next American Idol hail from the home of rock ‘n roll, Cleveland, Ohio? More than 15,000 people turned out in Brown Stadium for a shot. Then the thunderstorms drenched the area, but the would-be stars remained determined. In Cleveland, two-time Grammy winner L.L. Cool Jay served as a guest judge.

Teary-eyed teen
Jaclyn Crum, 16, started crying before her audition even took place. But she managed to pull her nerves together and sing for the judges. Simon said “You have potentially a good voice,” but he wondered if she was really ready for competition. L. L. Cool Jay said “I think she’s good enough to get her start here.” Randy gave her a no vote saying “I don’t think you’re ready for it.” But Paula said yes, and they said they’d see her in Hollywood.

Karaoke queen
An 18-year-old who runs her own Karaoke business took the stage and sang “I could have danced all night.” Sarah Sue Kelly had a good voice, but she was short, chubby and a little geeky looking. Simon said, “If I’m honest, it’s the way you look that’s putting us off. I think you have a nice voice. People will judge you on the way you look.” She said she was there to prove that not all American Idols have to look like Barbie. L.L. said he loved that comment, and he got up and hugged Sarah before she left.

Mistake by the lake
The judges were beginning to think that a trip to Cleveland was a “mistake by the lake,” as they listened to a stream of bad singers. But once this montage ended, they were taken by surprise by the next contestant.

Proving dad wrong
Scott Savol doesn’t really have the look and really if you compare him with Sarah Sue Kelly, you might find some similarities in terms of being a little chubby and geeky. But his voice put him through. At the start, Simon said “it says here your dad has no confidence in you.” Savol said “I’m my own man. I’ve got the voice, the look and the confidence to be the next American Idol.” You could tell the judges weren’t expecting him to do well, then he blew them away. Simon said, “Has your dad ever heard you sing? I think you’ve got a good voice. This is why this competition is so good for people like you. You wouldn’t be able to get into a recording studio.” L. L. said, “they would never see you coming. I would love to give America a chance to hear you sing.” So they put him through to Hollywood.

Spot on pitch
One of the more humorous auditions in Cleveland was the work of a mime. After she silently mouthed the words of an Aerosmith song, Simon said “Actually, that’s one of the best we’ve heard today.” “Spot on pitch,” chimed in Randy. But silence didn’t win.

Down on the farm
Dressed in overalls, Patrick Norman told the judges he lives on a small farm. He sang Nat King Cole’s Smile, and Randy said, “Wow! Dude – you were born to be a singer. I thought you were brilliant.” L.L. said “I think you’re great.” The other judges agreed and gave him a ticket to the bright lights of Hollywood.(Continued…)

Read more now — about this episode of American Idol by clicking here.

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