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'American Idol': Here it goes again

If it's time for another season of American Idol, it must be about a year since I started this blog. And how about that? Last week (Jan. 9 to be specific) was the one-year birthday of Reality Check.

But that's not why we're here today. It's the premiere of the sixth season of American Idol, now with even more footage of bad auditions. I actually hate this part of the season, but I miss all the backstory otherwise, so here we go ...

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For now, I will just listen to the Who song they've set the intro to and ignore Ryan Seacrest's hyperbole. Is that wrong?

They're starting in Minneapolis, ostensibly because Prince performed at the finale last year. Jewel is going to be part of the judging panel -- are they going to mention that she's also part of Nashville Star? Looks like no.

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We're starting with Jessica, a girl with a stereotypical Minnesota accent who actually works at the Mall of America. And she's Jewel's biggest fan! Could they have set it up better? (OK, they probably did set it up.) Well, maybe if she were singing a Jewel song in an intelligible manner it would be better. They all pass, and she starts bawling. This isn't entertainment; this is just painful. (Insult to injury: She tries to go out the door that won't open. I honestly don't know if I can take this, and it's just the first audition.) Is this segment ever going to end? OK, yes, finally.

Troy Benham -- who is all about being "urban Amish" and hasn't ever seen the show and doesn't know the judges -- is up next. He also appears to be making up his song as he goes along. When he gets to "this catalog I found sells roaches by the pound," the judges stop him.

Now a montage of broken dreams.

Jesse Holloway claims to have a range that includes some Mariah Carey notes. I think to count as having hit the notes, there needs to be some volume. And not leaving for water in the middle of the audition. But why are they not stopping him? It's a no. Followed by a rant.

Charles Moody from New York is dressed like Apollo Creed (Stars and Stripes and boxing gloves) and singing in Italian. His voice isn't bad, but he's confusing everyone.

Denise Jackson, a 16 year old from Wisconsin, has a sad tale of being born to a drug-addicted mother and saved by her grandmother. Can her voice back up the story? So far, yes. Speaking of yes, she's a unanimous yes from all four judges.

Now a montage of forgotten lyrics (to a silly public service announcement). Tashawn Moore is the poster child, singing "Kiss" by Prince. Well, that's the plan, but she can't even remember the first line. JUST SKIP TO THE BRIDGE! OK, she does, but it doesn't help. MAKE IT STOP.

Perla Meneses tells her "survival story" of coming to the U.S. at age 15 from Colombia, flirts with Ryan (but also insults him and calls him short), says she knows Simon is going to love her, comes in the room, starts singing Blondie like it's karaoke night. But as she warms up, it gets a little bit better. Simon says Blondie was weird because she sang it "heavily accented," but the problem was she was trying to sing like Blondie. Anyway, they let her through. My husband says, "If she was totally ugly with the same voice, there's NO WAY she would have made it." I concur.

Matt Volna, who likens himself to Johnny Cash and claims to have pizzaz, isn't going to end the trend of males not making the cut in Minneapolis. Simon says it's pointless, Randy says it's awful. At least he went out the correct door.

Navy intelligence specialist Jarrod Fowler won "Reagan Idol" on his aircraft carrier. Simon says he gets a yes because he thinks people will like him. Jewel says yes, but to watch his pitchiness and try a different song to show some range next time. But he is through to Hollywood.

The next girl sings the Lion's song from The Wizard of Oz and sounds like a wookiee. She calls herself "unique," which is never a good sign.

Vocal teacher (also usually not a good sign) Stephen is up next with Aerosmith's "I Don't Want Miss a Thing." And it starts out not that painful and then it goes up to a horrible high range that is scary. He gets harsh words from Randy, who says he shouldn't even be a vocal teacher. Simon eggs him on, trying to get him to yell at Randy, but Stephen tries to get Randy to tell him what he did that was wrong. Simon finally says no, too.

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You know it's getting bad when I just hope hope hope that the people go out the right door on their way out.

Michelle Steingas comes in, is shocked to see Jewel, and then busts out a pretty good version of some song I've never heard. The judges seem to like her, and Simon says the voting public will like her because she's "confident without being irritatingly precocious." She is through.

Next is a montage of people who got fired for going to Idol auditions.

Then there's Dayna Dooley, whose boss actually flew her out to Minneapolis for the audition. Jewel says, "I was pulling for you; I wanted it to be good." But Randy et al tell her she was out of tune the entire song. They bring in the boss to tell him she can't sing. Randy says she's tone deaf. They ask what she sings in the office that is so good that he felt compelled to fly her out. So now she's singing "Fever" to the boss and I just want to crawl under a rug and hide from the universe that has created this moment. But the judges thought she was better singing to him.

Matt Sato sings "California Dreamin'" after explaining that his parents aren't there because of the money they've spent on him being in show choir. Simon says he's "got something." The judges really liked him, and he makes it through!

Rachel Jenkins, who works at her parents' body shop and appears to be a specialist in the Army Reserves, and whose husband is in Baghdad, sings "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." The judges like the tone of her voice and send her through.

Sarah Krueger sings "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (sounds like the arrangement Katherine McPhee sang last season) and it's got to be a relief to the judges to hear someone who can sing and has control over her voice. It's a unanimous yes.

Inquiring minds want to know: Can it really still be the season premiere when the second episode airs tomorrow? I say: No.

Jason Anderson sings while juggling sticks, but he ought to have focused on one or the other. Randy says he should have been on America's Got Talent for the juggling. Then he shows of his dancing. Then he cries in the hallway and says, "I could tell they hate me!" Well, just the singing. And the dancing. But they liked the juggling! "They said Minneapolis had no talent because of me."

Then Brenna Kyner (the biggest fan of the show ever) is up. She reveals that her favorite contestant is Ace Young and that she has a tattoo of a heart that he drew on her. And she's going to sing "Under Pressure," and I am scared that she is going to start out beatboxing the intro like when Vanilla Ice tried to claim that the beat used on "Ice Ice Baby" was totally different. (Hopefully you saw that Behind the Music.) Actually, that would have been better than the shrieky, repeated "whyyyyyyyyy" that served as her introduction. Simon tells her it's about as bad as it gets, and like so many clueless contestants before her, she is incredulous.

And now, a "Kiss" montage. Ow.

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Next up is rocker Josh. He sings a gravelly version of Fuel's "Bad Day." Randy says it doesn't feel like it was him. Simon asks him what he would do if it was Abba week. He tells him he will come back in 15 minutes and sing an Abba song. He doesn't know Abba, but runs out to get a song, learn it and singing. They want him to stop singing the "gravelly" -- Jewel says she's worried he will hurt himself singing like that all the time. The judges tell him to stick with the band.

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Out of 10,000, only 17 in Minneapolis made it through. Wow. Painful. And supposedly Seattle (two hours tomorrow night) is worse.

OK, y'all, if we can make it through the auditions, maybe the live show portion will be worth it.

A girl can dream, right?

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