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'American Idol's serial auditioners won't take no for an answer


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/15/2007 

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

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That's the motto of American Idol's serial auditioners, who despite being rejected countless times, continue to make their lack of talent known at annual tryouts held across the country for Fox's smash-hit reality competition series.  Several of the show's "repeat offenders" talked about their often foolish determination in the January 22 issue of Newsweek

"If I had the money, I'd go to every single audition," 22-year-old Tya Moore told Newsweek.  This past August, Moore was rejected for the fifth time at the Pasadena Rose Bowl audition.  "Every year I get better."

If you think Moore's five failed auditions are a bit excessive, consider 22-year-old Troy Sawyer, who first auditioned for Idol in 2002 when he drove from his home in Kansas City, MO to Detroit where he performed "Tonight I Want to Be Your Man."  Finding no luck, he tried singing "Rockin' Robin" in Houston in 2003.  He was rejected again, but this time he noticed some wannabes that were using gimmicks seemed to make it further, so that's what he did in 2004 when he donned Pillsbury Doughboy pajamas and sang "Soul Man" in St. Louis.

"I was told I had a really good voice, but I should take it more seriously and not dress up," Sawyer told Newsweek.

Taking the advice, Sawyer dropped the gimmick, and over the next two years he auditioned in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, San Francisco, Austin, Denver, Las Vegas (again), Chicago and Memphis.  "I don't have the Justin Timberlake or Christina Aguilera voice," Sawyer told Newsweek.  "But I do have the personality that will charm America."

Sawyer seems to be channeling the spirit of William Hung, Idol's most famous reject who won the heart of Americans by singing Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" during his 2003 audition.  Hung eventually landed a record deal.

"We laugh more at the deluded than we celebrate the talented," Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told Newsweek, explaining why the show "looks for the very best and very worst in each city."  Added judge Paula Abdul, "Anybody can be famous now. It's like a disease."

Mimicking the outbreak of a highly infectious disease, the number of those considered to be an Idol serial auditioner grows with every season, and they take refuge in places like "Idol Reject," an online community founded by 30-year-old Larissa Jaye who auditioned twice in 2004.

"I've since started my own record label that will release my first album this spring," Jaye told Newsweek. "My whole philosophy is do-it-yourself. I'm not going to be held back."

While repeat offenders constantly stink-up Idol try-outs coast to coast, there is always the exception, because each failed audition may bring an aspiring singer closing to realize their dream.  After a failed audition in 2002, Jessica Gordon lost 30 pounds and made it to Hollywood last year where she finished in the fifth season's Top 60.

"The judges told me, 'You should come back,'" Gordon told Newsweek. "I was thinking about going to business school, but I realized it's not too late for me to be a singer."


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