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'American Idol' heads to Jacksonville

Tonight's American Idol opens with totally awesome footage of Randy Jackson and his hair performing in Journey.

The show jumps right in with auditioner Joshua Ulloa, who says he is often compared to Justin Guarini, which he claims not to mind. (It's all about the hair.) He sings "Let's Get It On" with a lot of sound effects -- his voice is OK, but like Simon says, it came off a little gimmicky. (He also says it reminds him of Inspector Gadget, which cracked me up.) Randy thought it was entertaining even so. Everyone else agrees -- he gets four yes votes and is on to Hollywood. Hey, why did Randy and Simon switch places? It's disorienting.

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Sharon Wilbur brought her dog Sasha with her because she calms her down. Sure. Not in an attempt to get camera time. She sings "Superstar," and she's pretty good, if a little scratchy. Simon and Randy say yes, and it's up to "the girls," aka Kara and Paula, who pretend to make out for reasons I seem to have missed. Sharon makes it to Hollywood.

Dana Moreno attempts to sing Chaka Khan, and it's terrible. She says she will take as much direction as they will give, and Simon points her toward the exit door. Ow.

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16-year-old Kaneswa Finnie is confident and comfortable and planning to sing Anita Baker's "Caught up in the Rapture of Love." She is, unfortunately, singing through her nose and out of key. Simon says it got progessively worse as she sang more. Kaneswa says she expected it from him and doesn't seem to care. They call in her mom to tell her that she needs to stop telling her daughter how great her voice is. They both have a fantastic attitude, which is refreshing.

Julissa Veloz is a Miss Florida Latina USA. She says she can sing some Whitney and busts out. Simon says it was better than he expected it to be, which I agree with. Then they make fun of her laugh, which is kind of mean. They seem to have an issue with how she sang that song, but they don't ask her to sing something else. Paula gets skipped over and gets mad and leaves, but Julissa talks her back to the judges' table. Oh, and then everyone votes yes. That was ... odd.

Darin Darnell likes to just talk to people in crowds and network and make friends. But his friend Devin (whom he just met in line) gets cut, and he loses it. He goes into his audition and tries to sing "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday." But he's so worked up about his friend that he can't get started. Then he does, and it's terrible. This doesn't exactly have the emotional resonance of the auditioners who have managed to perform after losing family members. Kara tells him he needs to stay out of the music business because it's tough on you.

Naomi Sykes enters the room for her audition and she is so excited. She has a friend who is desperate to meet Randy, so they do a little slo-mo meeting and hug, and she sits on Randy's lap during Naomi's audition. Paula then sits on Simon's lap, and Ryan comes in to sit on Kara's lap. Oh, by the way, at the very beginning, Naomi compared herself to Mariah Carey and said she can hit those high notes. She is terrible, and her friend was even laughing at her a little during the audition. Simon calls it out as a total joke (which I figured it was, too), and then she starts crying. Whoops.

Day one, nine people got golden tickets.

Montage of bad notes. Simon tells Ryan that basically, everyone was terrible.

First up on day 2 is 16-year-old Jasmine Murray. Her family, including all her sisters, totally supports her. She sings "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie. Simon says she is "cute, commercial and a very, very good singer." Yep, she is going to Hollywood. Cue the screaming family!

George Ramirez is a physics student who likes to think a lot and has a giant beard. You can tell by the goofy whistling music that this isn't going to end well. Simon asks where he sees himself in 11 years "in your wildest dreams." He says he wants to have a simple house with marble floors. He mumbles his way through a song. Simon asks if he has ever sung in public before. George says in front of friends, yes, in public, no. Randy calls it the quietest audition ever. He leaves to the goofy soundtrack.

Anne Marie Boskovich tells Kara she is her hero, that she heard her sing in Nashville and was so impressed. So she sings a couple of lines of Kara's song to her. Simon says she has a good voice, but they want her to come back in a few minutes as a star.

T.K. Hash didn't make it last time, and he is back to try again. He sings "Imagine," and I guess he's learned some things since last year because the judges are impressed. Paula says she thought he was good, but Randy thinks he was too over the top. Simon says no, Paula and Randy say yes, so it's down to Kara. She says yes, and he makes it.

Montage of family members saying super lovely things about contestants.

Michael Perrelli is obsessed with his guitar and music. He panics (and cries) when he finds out he can't audition with his guitar -- he has no backup plan. He sings "Jumper" and seems to have pulled himself together. Simon says he is interesting, but his voice isn't. Kara thinks he would better with his guitar, and he says he is so nervous. He starts freaking out, and Simon tells him to not start pleading. He can't help it, and Simon basically dismisses him. His family tries to comfort him, and he tells them not to touch him. Yikes.

Anne Marie is back and she sings "Bubbly." She has added some makeup and dressed up her outfit a little. I don't really care about that -- her voice is fab. She gets through to Hollywood. She has one of the first voices that has really stuck out to me so far.

In total, 16 people made it in Jacksonville.

Ooh, my fave: montage of people singing a single song, this time "Walking on Sunshine." They skipped that last week; maybe that's part of what made it so dry.

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