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Clay Aiken

FROM REALITY SHOWS TO THE STAGE

Reality show refugees Syesha Mercado and Shane Sparks couldn't have reacted more differently to landing key positions in the national touring production of "Dreamgirls," which opens Wednesday in Baltimore.

Mercado, a third-place finisher on "American Idol," wanted so desperately to land the role of tomboy-turned-diva Deena that she submitted to a grueling, five-month audition process.

Sparks, the hip-hop choreographer on "So You Can Think You Can Dance," came up with excuse after excuse to avoid working on his first Broadway show.

"I didn't dig at first that I was capable of choreographing a Broadway show," says the devilishly...

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